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California IVF Experts Tap Ethics Committee for Guidance

Unique program draws on diverse group to advise on complex infertility

treatment issues

SAN RAMON, Calif., Nov. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area (RSC) is launching an innovative advisory group designed to tackle head-on the increasingly complex ethical issues of infertility medicine -- a rare development in private medical groups in the United States.

RSC's ethics committee, believed to be the second of its kind among infertility practices outside of universities and hospitals, is comprised of diverse community members contracted to help RSC's doctors, who are among California's most prominent fertility specialists.

"Given the increasingly rapid advances in reproductive technology and genetic research, this field is fraught with challenging questions around the beginning of life and the proper amount of intervention in the earliest life stages," said Dr. Mary Hinckley of RSC.

Typical treatment choices include patient age, use of donated egg and sperm, gestational carriers or surrogates, embryo storage and freezing, the number of embryos transferred during in-vitro fertilization (IVF), gender selection and family balancing, embryonic genetic screening, inter- generational and inter-family sperm and egg donation, non-traditional families, and more.

"Some people don't seek treatment because they assume their personal concerns will be disregarded by their doctors. This committee clearly demonstrates our commitment to facilitate individual needs," Hinckley said.

For example, during a phone conversation with prospective patients, a minister and his wife, the couple was hesitant to seek treatment because they assumed that the use of IVF would result in unused embryos, which turned out not to be the case.

The committee is currently exploring the case of a man who requested sex selection for a girl because of a pattern of father-son abuse that occurred in his family. He was afraid that he might also become mentally ill some day and abuse a son.

Established in 1983, the Reproductive Science Center of the San Francisco Bay Area was one of the earliest IVF facilities in the nation, and was among the first in the United States to report a successful pregnancy from a donated egg, and was also responsible for the nation's second successful transfer of a previously frozen embryo into a mother's uterus. RSC maintains offices in San Ramon, Orinda, San Jose, Fremont, Modesto and Brentwood. For more information, visit Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Dr. Mary Hinckley

SOURCE The Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area
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