Monash Bioethics Review 24 (1):27-46 (2005)

In vitro fertilisation and other assisted reproductive technologies now enable many women to have children, who would otherwise have remained childless. The most obvious application for these technologies is to help physically infertile, but otherwise healthy young women to have children. However, increasingly, other groups are seeking access to ART to conceive, raising ethical questions about who should be allowed to use these technologies to bear children. In particular, the question of access to ART by lesbian couples and single women has roused considerable ethical, legal and public debate.This paper examines the perhaps less often considered issue of older and postmenopausal women, who are infertile due to age, using ART to conceive. A range of objections have been made to allowing these women access to ART, including concerns about their ability to care for the child, the risk of birth defects and the ‘unnaturalness’ of extending childbearing capacity beyond the menopause. This paper examines these objections and provides some responses.
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DOI 10.1007/bf03351426
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