Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type




First Advisor

Tonia Marine

Second Advisor

Janis Walrath

Third Advisor

Richard Lambert


In the following paper, there will be a discussion on infertility and in vitro fertilization (IVF), with a primary focus on the ethical dilemmas that have arisen with the introduction of IVF. This discussion begins with a description of the scope and experience of infertility, its causes, implications, and nursing care. It will then progress on to the discussion of in vitro fertilization and the procedural steps involved. This is followed by discussion of the background of ethics, basic ethic principles, nursing ethics, and selected religious perspectives. The author will be focusing on the Roman Catholic perspectives in particular. The author will then relate the ethical information to specific ethical dilemmas that have arisen because of the in vitro fertilization procedure. Such ethical dilemmas include conflicting religious beliefs, harmful effects of fertility drugs, genetic testing of preserved embryos, disposal of preserved embryos, gamete donation, selective termination, the use of IVF for non-traditional couples and individuals, financial factors, and publishing accurate consumer information. Carol Gilligan’s theory of moral development will be the conceptual framework for examining these situations. The author will focus primarily on the nursing role of client advocate in the nursing care of clients experiencing such ethical dilemmas. The author will be including information obtained through personal interviews with registered nurses and advanced practice * nurses who work with infertility and IVF clients.

Included in

Nursing Commons