The social implications of embryo cryopreservation

Brandon J. Bankowski, Anne D. Lyerly, Ruth R. Faden, Edward E. Wallach

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Objective: To summarize the existing literature regarding the social implications of embryo cryopreservation and outline areas in need of further study. Result(s): The potential social impact of oocyte cryopreservation has not been investigated. Embryo cryopreservation has been increasingly used to improve the cost-effectiveness of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and expand the options available to infertile couples, yet its widespread adoption has occurred more rapidly than our ability to study the social consequences for the couples and health professionals involved. For maintaining cryopreserved embryos, the existing literature is fragmented and incompletely explores the effects on an infertile couple's psychosocial health and personal relationships, their family planning strategies, or their preferences for the disposition of the embryos. Managing unclaimed embryos continues to create challenges for assisted reproduction professionals. Conclusion(s): We currently lack a thorough understanding of the numerous social implications of cryopreservation. Major areas for future research include the impact of stored embryos on couples' fertility intentions and psychosocial health, factors that affect couples' decisions about embryo disposition, strategies to minimize unclaimed embryos, and the consequences of oocyte/ovarian cryopreservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-832
Number of pages10
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005


  • Disposition
  • Embryo cryopreservation
  • Informed consent
  • Patient intentions
  • Social effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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