Third-party reproduction is a method in which a third person apart from the couple (intended parents) involves in reproduction procedure. This can be done by using donated sperm, eggs, embryos, or gestational carrier arrangements. In this process, the pregnancy is carried by the third individual other than the couple.
A gestational carrier is also sometimes referred to as Surrogacy, in which women carry the fetus and may also provide egg.
The third-party reproduction process gives an opportunity to those infertile couples who want to become parents. However, it can be ethically, socially, and legally complex. The egg or sperm donation, gestational carrier arrangement is controversial as it may not acceptable by law or society.
Third-party reproduction can be performed in the following ways:
The first egg donation resulted in pregnancy was reported in 1984. After that, the egg donation becomes popular and helped many infertile couples to conceive. With the help of egg donation, infertile couples can have a genetic link to the child if a male partner contributes his sperm to fertilize with the donated egg. In this process, the eggs are removed from a fertile woman, fertilized in a laboratory, and transfer the resulting embryo to the recipient uterus.
Sperm Donation -
Sperm donation is practised and used for over a century. It was first reported in the year 1945. However, with the development of the HIV issue, Donor insemination (DI) has now only performed with quarantined and frozen sperm. This allows the time to test the sperm of the donor.
The process is beneficial for those who have any abnormalities with semen, or reproductive system that hinders them to have a child.
Embryo Donation -
In this process, the embryo is formed inside the body of a fertile woman and then transfer to an infertile woman for further development of the embryo. This process enables them to achieve pregnancy and conceive a child.
Embryo donation needs the recipient to undergo some medical and psychological screening for all gamete (Sperm and egg) donor cycles.
These are some of the ways for third-party reproduction.
Is Third Party Reproduction Ethical or Unethical?
Third-Party reproduction contains several legal issues. Both donor (s) (egg or sperm, or both) and intended parents should sign a legal contract that defines the rights of the donor and financial obligations with respect to the donated egg or sperm (gametes).
Apart from the legal perspective of third-party reproduction, there are some of the concerns of the process as well. The decision of undergoing this procedure may cause the expecting parents to face some dilemmas associated with community and society, as the pre-existing notion of building a family involves the natural process of becoming a parent.
As ethics of a society is an ever-transforming notion, the question of third-party reproduction being ethical or unethical depends on the progressive and collective psychology of the society.