Reproductive technology: Drawing the line

Peter E. Dans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


An anonymous survey was administered to clinical clerks rotating through obstetrics and gynecology during weekly ethics rounds. Students were asked to judge the moral acceptability as participants and as referring physicians of 11 reproductive technology scenarios ranging from artificial insemination using a husband’s sperm in a conjugal relationship to instances involving in vitro fertilization, uterine donation, surrogacy contracts, self-insemination, and single or lesbian parenthood. Positive judgments regarding personal moral acceptability ranged from 30–100% and as a referring physician from 36–99%. Though most students were consistent in their judgments about personal and professional moral acceptability, some (1–15%) could see themselves acting as referring physicians for something they personally found morally unacceptable. Those students who were opposed to contracting for children (more women than men) were more likely to find the reproductive scenarios morally unacceptable. This survey seemed to be a useful tool for discussing where students draw the line morally and why, and whether they would distance themselves from actions they found morally unacceptable. This technique for teaching applied analytic ethics is especially applicable to obstetrics and gynecology because it addresses fundamental questions involving day-to-day practice in the specialty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-195
Number of pages5
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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