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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


BECA, Juan Pablo et al. Medical, ethical and legal issues in cryopreservation of human embryos. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2014, vol.142, n.7, pp.903-908. ISSN 0034-9887.

Embryo cryopreservation improves efficiency and security of assisted reproduction techniques. Nonetheless, it can be questionable, so it must be justified from technical, legal and ethical points of view. This article analyses these perspectives. Embryo cryopreservation maximizes the probability of pregnancy, avoids new ovary stimulations and reduces the occurrence of multiple gestations. There is consensus that the in vitro embryo deserves legal protection by its own, although not as a newborn. Very few countries prohibit embryo cryopreservation based on the legal duty to protect human life since fecundation. Those countries that allow it, privilege womenós reproductive rights. In Chile and in Latin America, no laws have been promulgated to regulate human assisted reproduction. The moral status of the embryo depends on how it is considered. Some believe it is a potential person while others think it is just a group of cells, but all recognize that it requires some kind of respect and protection. There is lack of information about the number of frozen embryos and their final destination. As a conclusion the authors propose that women or couples should have the right to decide autonomously, while institutions ought to be clear in their regulations. And the legislation must establish the legal status of the embryo before its implantation, the couplesó rights and the regulation of the embryo cryopreservation. Personal, institutional or legal decisions must assume a concept about the moral status of the human embryo and try to avoid their destruction or indefinite storage.

Keywords : Cryopreservation; Embryo dispositions; Embryo research; Legislation; Moral obligations; Reproductive techniques.

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