Impact Ethics

Eggs and Embryos



Cattapan, A. (17 Mar 2016). The curious case of informed consent for egg donation. BMJ: Journal of Medical Ethics Blog.

Baylis, F. (2016). Mitochondrial replacement techniques: ethical, social and policy considerations. RSC Reports from Abroad.

Baylis F. (25 Feb to 6 Mar 2016). @NEJM Ask the authors & experts: Mitochondrial replacement techniques--Implications for the clinical community. NEJM Group Open Forum.

Cattapan, A. (11 Nov 2015). Ontario should focus on preventing infertility instead of treating it.

Cattapan, A. (26 Oct 2015). Why Ontario’s IVF funding structure is not the answer.

Cattapan, A. (24 Apr 2015). For love or money: the ‘shortage’ of Canadian sperm donors. Impact Ethics.

Browne, K. (17 Mar 2015). Voluntary sterilization, personal responsibility, and IVF coverage. Impact Ethics.

Cattapan, A. (11 Mar 2015). A fictive reality: science fiction, dystopia, and assisted reproduction. International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics Blog.

Baylis F. (23 Feb 2015). The truth about mitochondrial replacement. Impact Ethics.

Baylis F. (8 Dec 2014). Will Quebec’s cut to IVF funding lead to more multiple pregnancies? Healthy Debate.

Baylis F. (2 Dec 2014). Kudos to Quebec IVF docs for reducing the # of multiple pregnancies. Impact Ethics.

Baylis F. (16 Oct 2014). Left out in the cold: Seven reasons not to freeze your eggs. Impact Ethics.

Hua, H.T.M. (22 Aug 2014). International differences in gamete donor limits. Impact Ethics.

White, P. (15 Jul 2014). Quebec’s Assisted Human Reproduction Program. Impact Ethics.

McLeod C. & Botterell A. (6 May 2014). Raising expectations about IVF but not adoption. Impact Ethics.

Gruben V. (23 Apr 2014). Ontario’s new policy for safe fertility services. Impact Ethics.

Cattapan A. (21 Apr 2014). Funding one IVF treatment is not the answer to infertility. Impact Ethics.

White P. (17 Jan 2014). ‘Excess’ embryos for human pluripotent stem cell research. Impact Ethics.

Cattapan A. (21 Dec 2013). The (unknown) costs of private-for-profit IVF. Impact Ethics.

Baylis F. & Downie J. (17 Dec 2013). Wishing doesn’t make it so. Impact Ethics.

Cattapan A. (13 Aug 2013). Rethinking sex selection: A feminist critique. Impact Ethics.

Baylis F. (2 Jul 2013). Ethical objections to mitochondrial replacement. Impact Ethics.

Baylis F. (26 Jun 2013). The ethics of spending millions on high-tech pregnancies: ‘Made in Quebec.’ Impact Ethics.

Baylis F. & Tonkens, R. (25 Apr 2013). Milking women. Impact Ethics.

Baylis F. (3 Apr 2013). There should be an age limit for fertility treatments. “Change my mind” debate series. The Blog, Huffington Post Canada.

Baylis F. (1 May 2012). Are Canadian fertility services breaking the law? Bioethics Forum.


Baylis, F. (2017). The regulation of assisted human reproductive technologies and related research: A public health, safety and morality argument. In T. Lemmens, A.F. Martin, C. Milne, & I.B. Lee (Eds.),Regulating creation: The law, ethics and policy of assisted human reproductions (pp. 490-528). Toronto, ON: Toronto University Press.

Baylis, F., Cattapan, A., & Snow, D. (Apr 2017) Editorial misconduct. Public Affairs Quarterly, 31(2), 143-155.

Baylis, F., & Herder, M. (2016). Policy design for human embryo research in Canada. In. S. Dodds & R. Ankeny (Eds.), Big picture bioethics: Developing democratic policy in contested domains (pp. 73-105). New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

Baylis, F. (2016). ‘Broad societal consensus’ on human germline editing. Harvard Health Policy Review, 15(2), 19-23.

Krahn, T.M., & Baylis F. (2016). A review of consent documents from Canadian IVF clinics, 1991 to 2014. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 38(5), 470-482.

Cattapan, A. (2016). Good eggs? Evaluating consent forms for egg donation. Journal of Medical Ethics, 42(7), 455-459.

Cattapan, A., & Baylis, F. (Dec 2015). Frozen in perpetuity? ‘Abandoned embryos’ in Canada. Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online, 1(2), 104-112.

Baylis, F., & Widdows, H. (2015). Frozen human embryos and eggs: From long-term storage to biobanking. Monash Bioethics Review, 33(4), 340-359.

Cattapan, A., & Snow, D. (2015). Of research and reproduction: Defining embryo research in Canada. Monash Bioethics Review, 33(4), 379-395.

Browne, K. (2015). Why governance? A challenge to good governance of biobanks. Monash Bioethics Review, 33(4), 295-300.

Snow D., Baylis F., & Downie, J. (2015). Why the Government of Canada won’t regulate Assisted Human Reproduction: A modern mystery. McGill Journal of Law and Health, 9(1), 1-15.

Petropanagos, A., Cattapan A., Baylis F., & Leader, A. (2015). Implications of egg freezing for physicians. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 187(9), 666-669.

Snow, D., Cattapan, A. & Baylis, F. (2015). Contesting estimates of cryopreserved embryos in the United States. Nature Biotechnology, 33(9), 909.

Petropanagos, A., & Campo-Engelstein, L. (2015). Tough talk: Discussing fertility preservation with adolescents and young adults with cancer. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, 4(33), 96-99.

Baylis, F. (2015). Left out in the cold: Arguments against oocyte cryopreservation. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 27(1), 64-67.

Baylis, F. (2015). Uses of human embryos for reproduction and research. In J.A. Arras, E. Fenton & R. Kukla (Eds.), Routledge companion to bioethics (pp. 357-369). New York, NY: Routledge.

Cattapan, A., Copeland, S., & Snow, D. (2015). Meeting report: Biobanking eggs and embryos for research. The Gazette (of the Society for the Social History of Medicine), 68(Feb), 6-7.

Baylis, F. (Spring 2015). Ethics and assisted reproduction technologies in Canada: 2004-2014. Creating Families, 10(1), 54-56.

Tonkens, R. (2015). ‘My child will never initiate Ultimate Harm’: An argument against moral enhancement. Journal of Medical Ethics, 41(3), 245-51.

Baylis, F. (2014) Infertility. In Reference module in bomedical sciences (pp.1-8). Elsevier [online]: doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-801238-3.00268-3.

Baylis, F., & Downie, J. (2014). Achieving national altruistic self-sufficiency in human eggs for third-party reproduction in Canada. International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, 7(2), 164-184.

Baylis F., Downie, J., & Snow D. (2014). Fake it till you make it: Policymaking and assisted human reproduction in Canada. Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Canada, 36(6), 510-512.

Baylis, F., & Downie, J. (2013). The tale of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada: A tragedy in five acts. Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, 25(2), 183-201.

Tonkens, R. (2013). Why should we discard all abandoned human embryos? Fertility and Sterility, 100(4), E28.

Downie, J., & Baylis, F. (2013). Transnational trade in human eggs: Law, policy, and (in)action in Canada. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 41(1), 224-239.

Baylis, F. (2013). The ethics of creating children with three genetic parents. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 26, 531-534.

Baylis, F. (2013). Embryo research. In: H. Lafollette (Ed.) The International encyclopedia of ethics (pp. 1579-1585). London, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Baylis, F. (2012). Infertility. In: R. Chadwick (Ed) Encyclopedia of applied ethics 2nd ed. (Vol. 2, pp. 712-720). San Diego: Academic Press USA.  

Baylis, F. (2012). The demise of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada [Guest Editorial]. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada 34(6): 511-513

Baylis, F. (2012). La fin de procréation assistée Canada [Editorial sollicité]. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 33(6), 514-516.

Baylis, F. (2012). Enforcing the Assisted Human Reproduction Act [Letter to the Editor]. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 34(5), 415.


Eggs and Embryos for Research (2011-2015)

A comparative study of assisted human reproduction patients' views about the donation of eggs and embryos for scientific and clinical research.               

Investigators: F. Baylis, E. Haimes, E. Fredericks, C. McLeod, A. Leader,  J. Takefman

Collaborators: R. Bouzayen, A. Cameron, V. Gruben  

Researchers and Postdoctoral Fellows: T. Browne, A. Cattapan, S. Côté, A. Doyle, T. Krahn, D. Snow, R. Tonkens, P. White

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and working in association with Canadian IVF clinicss.  

Women and couples who use reproductive technologies sometimes have frozen eggs and embryos they do not want or cannot use for their own reproductive purposes, and sometimes they choose to donate these reproductive materials for scientific and clinical research.

This research has generated much-needed Canadian data on the acceptability of in vitro embryo research to the potential donors of these reproductive materials. It also critically analyzed the potential social and ethical costs associated with embryo donation for research, with particular attention to competing views about the benefits and limitations of donating versus selling reproductive materials, and the importance (if any) attributed to the purpose of the embryo research in making decisions about donation. Together, empirical data and philosophical reflections have worked to inform clinicians, researchers and policymakers to help improve consent procedures as well as legislative and policy options.

This study included three distinct research projects:

Project 1:    Patients’ Perspectives on Egg and Embryo Donation for Research 

Through semi-structured interviews held with patients from three clinic sites, the project has provided new information about the perspectives of in vitro fertilization patients concerning the disposition of their embryos and their potential use in research. It has contributed new knowledge to international bioethical debates on egg and embryo research.

Women or couples that participated in this study may be interested in the additional information provided in our Fast Facts page (updated September 2015). 

Project 2:  Social and Ethical Aspects of Egg and Embryo Donation for Research

This project analyzed the potential social and ethical aspects of in vitro egg and embryo donation for research from a feminist perspective, with particular attention to the ways in which research practices and policies may be harmful to women.

This project emphasized the social and ethical costs associated with in vitro egg and embryo donation, in ways that considered the perceptions, views and understandings of those that participated in the semi-structured interviews of Project 1.  

Project 3:  Policies for Egg and Embryo Donation for Research

This project identified the best consent documents and processes to promote informed choice in the donation of in vitro eggs and embryos for research, and what regulatory or legislative requirements will best support ethical practice for this donation. Thus, the knowledge gained from Projects 1 and 2 was transferred to clinicians, researchers, and policymakers.

Research is still being conducted and relevant findings disseminated on informed consent documents and policies for in vitro human egg and embryo donation to be circulated widely to Canadian IVF clinics and relevant professional organizations.  

Research Summary & Update

Last updated September 2017.