The Human embryo
Mapping patients’ ethical decisions in Hungary
Keywords:bioethics, embryo, qualitative study, assisted reproduction
When in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments first appeared in Hungarian legislation, the related experiences and the moral dilemmas of couples who go through these procedures were unknown. Couples have to make a great variety of decisions during the IVF process. In our study, we focus on the journey of the human embryo in IVF treatment through the ethical lenses of women. In order to explore the differences between established ethical and legal frameworks and the perspectives of women who have participated in an IVF procedure in Hungary, we conducted semi-structured interviews. In contrast to the static view of embryos typical to a part of the ethics literature, which also characterizes most established legal frameworks, patients’ view of embryos of interviewees was dynamic: they interpreted embryos in a malleable and constantly changing way. Embryos were perceived differently depending on time, place, and biological characteristics, and primarily in relation to how they could contribute to achieving the goals of treatment. In this article, we also demonstrate that
the main ethical framework that the participants in our research evoked in relation to the IVF process was related to the ethics of medical treatment. At the end of the paper we also make an attempt to draw some conclusions that may help ameliorate problems with the current normative ethical and legal framework by incorporating the experiences of women who participate in IVF procedures.
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