Fertility services were significantly curtailed or suspended as an initial response to the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, following guidance from European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) as well as a General Direction (GD0014) issued by the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority (HFEA). It is difficult to argue with triage of medical care and resources in the face of anticipated overwhelming demand, but this situation resulted in considerable distress, as shown by a change.org petition opposing ASRM recommendations, which has gathered over 21,000 signatures to date. Although halting assisted reproductive technology (ART) as the pandemic unfolded was ethical because public health goals superseded individual patient autonomy, the fertility sector now faces a greater challenge balancing ethical considerations in an era characterized by the ongoing threat of COVID-19. This article discusses justice and autonomy in the context of ART, potential conflicts and resolutions.


© 2020 Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Martins Da Silva, S. & Campo-Engelstein, L. 2020, 'Assisted reproductive technology, justice and autonomy in an era of COVID-19', Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 42(2), pp. 287-290. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2020.11.004

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Last updated: 29 September 2022
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