Embryo donation and ethical concerns

Fertility Specialist Elaine Gordon, PhD, discusses some of the ethical concerns people may have about embryo donations and why it is important to be respectful to all parties involved
Ethical Concerns About Embryo Donations
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Embryo donation and ethical concerns

The ethical and legal issues in human embryo donation are great. And the reason for that is the reproductive medical world has really progressed by leaps and bounds and the legal, ethical and psychological community – we’re just trying to play catch up. So they have advanced their reproductive methods in terms of helping people have children and we’re just trying to run after them, trying to establish guidelines and we are not doing it as fast as we need to do it. Embryo donation, there are no guidelines right now – each clinic is establishing their own. The entire world of reproductive medicine needs to be organized in a fashion that is respectful to all the parties involved and embryo donation is really right now something that’s fairly new and we are still working on how to best do that. We have a surplus of embryos around the world that are just sitting in banks.

Fertility Specialist Elaine Gordon, PhD, discusses some of the ethical concerns people may have about embryo donations and why it is important to be respectful to all parties involved


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Elaine Gordon, PhD

Fertility Specialist

Elaine Gordon is a Clinical Psychologist with a specialty in infertility, child development, reproductive medicine, and third party family building.  Besides her role as a therapist and group facilitator working with patients struggling with infertility related issues, she lectures on various topics surrounding the psychological and ethical issues of contemporary family building. Dr. Gordon is the author of Mommy, Did I grow in your Tummy? Where Many Babies Come From a children’s book dedicated to explaining a child’s unique reproductive beginnings whether it be IVF, egg donation, sperm donation, surrogacy or adoption.

Her professional associations include The American Psychological Association, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and The American Fertility Association. She has served, as the educational chair for the Psychological Special Interest Group of the ASRM, is a member of the educational committee of ASRM.  She has served on various committees regarding many aspects of reproductive medicine. Dr. Gordon’s clinical work involves individual therapy, group process for couples and individuals, staff training for programs involved in reproductive medicine and third party screening and evaluations for all participants.

Dr. Gordon is well versed in both the medical and psychological aspects of reproductive medicine utilizing third parties. Her involvement in egg donation and surrogacy programs has stimulated an interest in the issues surrounding secrecy and disclosure in third party parenting. Related to the disclosure/nondisclosure issue is the need to assess the advantages and disadvantages of open versus closed donation policies. She lectures on disclosure policies and how you talk to children about non-traditional family building with the focus being the best interest of the child. 

Throughout her career as a psychologist she has become increasingly concerned about the ethical and moral dilemmas inherent in growing field of reproductive medicine. She has co-authored a chapter entitled "Legal and Ethical Aspects of Infertility Counseling" in the textbook Infertility Counseling: A Comprehensive Handbook for Clinicians. Dr. Gordon is currently involved in several research projects investigating the psychological implication of using egg and or sperm donation as a means of building families. She continues to work with other professionals in establishing a ‘standard of care” policy for the infertility patient and third party participants.

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