Should ART be conditional?


The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) published a position paper on the impact of obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption on medically assisted reproduction (ART). They came up with five recommendations:

1. Fertility doctors should refuse treatment to women who consume alcohol more than moderately and are not willing or able to diminish their consumption.
2. Treating obese women requires special justification. Data suggests that weight loss would incur in a positive effect on reproduction, but more data is needed to establish whether assisted reproduction should be made only if life style changes resulting in weight loss or smoking cessation occur.
3. If there is a strong suggestion that there will be serious harm to a potential child as a result of lifestyle choices, then ART should only be used upon condition that those risky behaviors will end.
4. If doctors make ART available only upon condition of lifestyle change, doctors must help the potential mother make those changes.
5. Fertility doctors should continue to study these factors and the reproductive effects.

ESHRE admitted that these are complicated issues with very individual and personal perspectives. Further, it is a complex issue in terms of what these responsibilities meant with regard to safety of mother and child as well as fair and equitable access to treatment. Respect for the mother needs to be balanced with the health of the future child and the interests of society.

Source: Medical News Today, ESHRE


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