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Suffering and Bioethics$
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Ronald M. Green and Nathan J. Palpant

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199926176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926176.001.0001

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Reproductive Technology in Suffering’s Shadow

Reproductive Technology in Suffering’s Shadow

Chapter:
(p.357) 18 Reproductive Technology in Suffering’s Shadow
Source:
Suffering and Bioethics
Author(s):

Paul Lauritzen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926176.003.0018

This chapter argues that the legitimate effort to address medical causes of infertility is compromised when the suffering brought about by an unrealized desire for children is medicalized and the suffering of infertility is trivialized. Not all suffering is equal, nor are physicians required to treat every form of suffering. Unfortunately, when assisted reproductive technology is understood as a product and the infertile are considered consumers, the values and virtues that should govern reproductive medicine are threatened. As is true with some forms of cosmetic surgery, many assistive reproductive treatments are offered to “patients” who have nothing medically wrong with them. The chapter concludes by arguing that the best way to combat the commodification of medicine that results from treating patients as consumers and medical treatments as products is to recover a social-trustee model of medical professionalism.

Keywords:   assisted reproductive technology, commodification, consumer, infertility, professionalism, reproductive medicine, suffering, virtue

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