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Women Unhappy With Disposal Options After Infertility Treatment
Date:12/4/2008

Study suggests more choices need to be available to couples

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A new survey suggests that many American women who have finished fertility treatments aren't happy with the usual options available for the disposal of unused embryos created with their eggs.

Most of 1,020 women surveyed said they were very unlikely to choose to allow the frozen embryos to be thawed and thrown away, used by other women, given to researchers, or frozen "forever."

The research suggests a conundrum: Women don't like the standard options -- with the exception of using the embryos for their own future pregnancy -- but many will be forced to choose one of them.

"People should know that they'll have a difficult decision that's awaiting them," said study author Dr. Anne Drapkin Lyerly, of Duke University. "They're facing a choice that is very morally difficult and sometimes sort of impossible in terms of finding a satisfactory solution."

Embryos are created during in vitro fertilization procedures at fertility clinics across the United States. "Oftentimes, more embryos are created than needed," said Lyerly, an associate professor at Duke University's department of obstetrics and gynecology.

"You don't know how many embryos are going to form, so you want to make as many as you can, so you can get some good ones," she said. "Another reason you make more than you need during a given fertility cycle is so you can freeze them and use them at a later time without going through the egg harvesting process."

Clinics typically allow women to keep the unused embryos frozen indefinitely, although there are storage fees that could run into hundreds of dollars a year. A study released in 2003 estimated that 400,000 frozen embryos remained on ice in the United States.

The question is: What should be done with the embryos? They could be donated to researchers, although federal law limi
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