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Hope and exploitation in commercial provision of assisted reproductive technologies

Wrigley, Anthony; Watts, Gabe; Lipworth, Wendy; Newson, Ainsley


Gabe Watts

Wendy Lipworth

Ainsley Newson


Innovation is a key driver of care provision in Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). ART providers offer a range of ‘add-on’ interventions, aiming to augment standard IVF protocols and improve the chances of a live birth. Particularly in the context of commercial provision, an ever-increasing array of add-ons are marketed to ART patients, even when evidence to support them is equivocal. A defining feature of ART is hope - hope that a cycle will lead to a baby, or hope that another test or intervention will make a difference. Yet such hope also leaves ART patients vulnerable in a variety of ways. In this paper we argue that previous attempts to safeguard ART patients have neglected how the use of add-ons in commercial ART can exploit patients’ hopes. As a result, commercial providers of ART should only provide add-ons free of charge, under a suitable research protocol.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 2, 2023
Online Publication Date Nov 14, 2023
Publication Date 2023-09
Deposit Date Jul 12, 2023
Publicly Available Date Oct 1, 2025
Journal Hastings Center Report
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 53
Issue 5
Keywords Hope, Exploitation, Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Bioethics
Publisher URL