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Parents' choices in banking boys' testicular tissue
  1. Timothy F Murphy
  1. Correspondence to Professor Timothy F Murphy, Department of Medical Education m/c 591, 808 S. Wood St, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago IL 60612-7308, USA; tmurphy{at}


Researchers are working to derive sperm from banked testicular tissue taken from pre-pubertal boys who face therapies or injuries that destroy sperm production. Success in deriving sperm from this tissue will help to preserve the option for these boys to have genetically related children later in life. For the twin moral reasons of preserving access and equity in regard to having such children, clinicians and researchers are justified in offering the option to the parents of all affected boys. However, some parents may wish to decline the option to bank tissue from their boys because the technique may seem too unfamiliar or unusual, but over time people may become more comfortable with the technique as they have done with other novel assisted reproductive treatments (ARTs). Other parents may wish to decline the option because of moral or religious reasons. A prominent natural law theory holds, for example, that the ARTs that would be involved in using sperm derived from banked tissue to produce a child are morally objectionable. Some parents might not want to bank tissue in order to shield their son from using ARTs they see as objectionable. Clinicians and researchers should respect parents who wish to decline banking tissue, but parents should ordinarily embrace choices that protect the possible interests their sons may have as adult men, including the wish to have genetically related children.

  • Ethics
  • fertility
  • informed consent
  • tissue banking
  • minors/parental consent
  • cryobanking of sperm
  • ova or embryos

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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