Ethics: The Rights of Frozen Embryos

Complex, painful dilemmas are raised by in vitro fertilization

As ethicist Thomas Shannon sees it, "The application of in vitro fertilization has moved almost overnight from the lab to the clinic." Shannon, who teaches at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, might have added, and into the law courts as well. Like many other modern technological wonders, the artificial union of sperm and ovum to form a zygote, which is then frozen for eventual implantation in a woman's womb, has gone from the near miraculous to the almost mundane -- and ultimately to the moral dilemma. One current legal case addresses two of the key ethical questions raised by in vitro...

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