“Selective pregnancy reduction” is a medical procedure used to reduce a multiple pregnancy, often a multiple pregnancy induced by in vitro fertilization or drug therapy. In such instances, healthy embryos are sacrificed in order to maximize the chances of survival of the remaining embryos or to allow the mother to choose the number of babies she wishes to deliver. Physicians appear to rely on Roe v. Wade in assuming the legality of the procedure, although such an assumption may be erroneous. Rather than continue to implant an excessive number of pre-embryos, the American Medical Association and the Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology should adopt guidelines similar to those established by the Voluntary Licensing Authority in London, which limit the number to be inserted to a maximum of three. Careful ultrasound monitoring could ensure that no more than three embryos implant when fertility drugs are used. Such practices would help physicians avoid the many moral, ethical, legal, and philosophical problems caused by selective pregnancy reduction.
Selective Pregnancy Reduction: Medical Attitudes, Legal Implications, and a Viable Alternative
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Elizabeth Villiers Gemmette; Selective Pregnancy Reduction: Medical Attitudes, Legal Implications, and a Viable Alternative. J Health Polit Policy Law 1 April 1991; 16 (2): 383–395. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-16-2-383
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