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Mummy was a fetus: motherhood and fetal ovarian transplantation.
  1. J M Berkowitz
  1. Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, USA.


    Infertility affects 15 per cent of the world's couples. Research at Edinburgh University has been directed at transplanting fetal ovarian tissue into infertile women, thus enabling them to bear children. Fetal ovary transplantation (FOT) has generated substantial controversy; in fact, one ethicist deemed the procedure 'so grotesque as to be unbelievable' (1). Some have suggested that fetal eggs may harbour unknown chromosomal abnormalities: however, there is no evidence that these eggs possess a higher incidence of genetic anomaly than ova found in a healthy adult female. There is also concern that fetal egg children will be psychologically harmed by the knowledge of their special conceptual status. It will be demonstrated that special conceptual status in and of itself does not determine developmental success. Rather, psychological well-being is dependent upon how the family and child cope with the unique challenges inherent in FOT. Lastly, though considering FOT a legitimate method of family building, given the global population crisis the wisdom of procreational rights will be challenged. Inherent to this challenge is a re-evaluation of the treatment of infertility as a significant disease necessitating remedy.

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