Ethical problems with infertility treatments: Attitudes and explanations

Karina M. Shreffler, David R. Johnson, Laurie K. Scheuble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Although media coverage of infertility treatments has increased markedly over the past decade, there is a dearth of empirical information about public perceptions of the ethics of infertility procedures (e.g. artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, donor eggs, surrogate mothering, and gestational carriers) and about the factors that shape them. Two representative telephone survey samples (930 adults in a Midwestern state, and 580 adult women aged 25-50 in the North Central region) are analyzed to gauge public views on the ethics of infertility treatments and estimate the effects of social structure and exposure on these views. Ethical concerns were viewed as more serious for techniques that could result in a child who may not be biologically related to the woman or her partner than for those yielding a child biologically related to both parents. Social structural factors such as age and education were the strongest predictors of attitudes towards the ethics of infertility treatments. Neither parenthood nor experiencing infertility was related to ethical concerns, although women reporting the use of infertility services had fewer ethical concerns than their counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-746
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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