Despite significant debate about appropriate disposition of cryopreserved embryos, information about the attitudes of individuals who will ultimately decide about disposition, namely individuals who underwent IVF to create them, is limited. Our aim was to qualitatively describe the range of attitudes of individuals regarding their cryopreserved embryos. We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 31 women and 7 couples from two reproductive endocrinology clinics who have, have had, or anticipate having cryopreserved embryos as a result of IVF. Thirty-one individuals/couples had from 1 to more than 20 embryos in storage. Many expressed uncertainty about plans for embryo disposition, citing a lack of resources for informed decision-making and concerns about available options. When questioned about potentially acceptable options, 28 specified future attempts at pregnancy, 14 specified donation for research purposes, 9 specified donation to another couple, and 4 specified thawing and discarding spare embryos. These data suggest a wide range of attitudes among individuals regarding disposition of their cryopreserved embryos. Further study is needed to quantify the prevalence of these attitudes and concerns.
- Cryopreserved embryo disposition
- Embryo research
- Patient attitudes
- Qualitative research
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