are the Basic Principles of
Bioethicists often refer to the four basic principles
of health care ethics when evaluating the merits and difficulties of medical
procedures. Ideally, for a medical practice to be considered "ethical",
it must respect all four of these principles: autonomy, justice, beneficence,
and non-maleficence. The use of reproductive technology raises questions
in each of these areas.
Requires that the patient have autonomy of thought, intention, and action
when making decisions regarding health care
procedures. Therefore, the decision-making process must be free of
coercion or coaxing. In order for a patient to
make a fully informed decision, she/he must understand all risks and benefits
of the procedure and the likelihood of
success. Because ARTs are highly technical and may involve high emotions,
it is difficult to expect patients to be
operating under fully-informed consent.
The idea that
the burdens and benefits of new or experimental treatments must be distributed
equally among all groups in
that procedures uphold the spirit of existing laws and are fair to all
players involved. The health care provider must consider four main
areas when evaluating justice: fair distribution of scarce resources, competing
needs, rights and obligations, and potential conflicts with established
legislation. Reproductive technologies create ethical dilemmas because
treatment is not equally available to all people.
the procedure be provided with the intent of doing good for the patient
involved. Demands that health care providers develop and maintain
skills and knowledge, continually update training, consider individual
circumstances of all patients, and strive for net benefit.
a procedure does not harm the patient involved or others in society.
Infertility specialists operate under the assumption that they are doing
no harm or at least minimizing harm by pursuing the greater good.
reproductive technologies have limited success rates uncertain overall
outcomes, the emotional state of the patient may be impacted negatively.
In some cases, it is difficult for doctors to successfully apply the do
no harm principle.