Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Ethics: use and misuse of assisted reproductive techniques across species

Campbell, Madeleine L H


Madeleine L H Campbell


The boundaries of what we are able to do using ARTs are fast-moving. In both human and veterinary medicine, this presents a fundamental question: 'Just because we can, should we?' or, to rephrase the same question: 'How can we distinguish between what is a use and a misuse of an ART, across species?' This paper assesses the scientific evidence base for and against the use of ARTs and offers a personal opinion on how we can use such evidence to inform an ethical distinction between justifiable and unjustifiable uses of the techniques. It is argued that the law provides a necessary but insufficient basis for such distinctions. Based on the evidence about harms and benefits, ARTs may be classified into three groups: those which should be rarely used; those for which current evidence supports arguments both for and against their use and those which there is an ethical imperative to use. To which category a particular ART falls into varies depending upon the species to which it is being applied and the reason we are using it. In order to ensure that our ethical oversight keeps up with our technical prowess, the medical and veterinary professions should keep discussing and debating the moral basis of the use of ARTs, not only with each other but also with the lay public.


Campbell, M. L. H. (2021). Ethics: use and misuse of assisted reproductive techniques across species. Reproduction and Fertility, 2(3), C23-C28.

Journal Article Type Commentary
Acceptance Date Aug 2, 2021
Publication Date Aug 2, 2021
Deposit Date Aug 17, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 19, 2021
Journal Reproduction and Fertility
Print ISSN 2633-8386
Publisher BioScientifica
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Issue 3
Pages C23-C28
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations