A recent article published in Fertility and Sterility(see HERE) affirms that, in the last four decades, some advances have been made in the pregnancy rate obtained by in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, this apparent success is accompanied by the disadvantage of a vast increase in multiple pregnancies. While efforts to reduce the number of embryos transferred have had a healthy impact on the reduction of said pregnancies, the incidence of twin pregnancies has not decreased.
Only UK rates: – In 1980, the twin birth rate was 18.9/1,000
– In 2014, the twin birth rate was 33.9/1,000
Ideal embryo for transfer and discard those that are left over. Could be a discrimination after birth?
To try to resolve this problem, the authors propose selecting the best embryo for transfer, making reference to four methods. We will not refer here to the technical methodology described since this is separate from the bioethical interest.
The article in question mentions that an essential aim is to seek the best method to determine the ideal embryo for transfer, but it also states that, even though the methods described have great technical potential, “the goal of finding the ‘holy grail’ of embryo selection has not yet been realized”.
Our bioethical assessment of this technique
However, the article makes no reference to the bioethical difficulties of these techniques, because all are aimed at determining the best embryo from a biological perspective; this means discarding or destroying the remaining embryos, which we believe is ethically untenable.
It would be different if egg and sperm selection were performed to choose the most suitable gametes, but once an embryo has been created (an individual of our species), the selective process is bioethically unacceptable for the reasons given above.
In any case, even egg and sperm selection would not circumvent the bioethical difficulties entailed in the IVF technique itself.