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Ethical Issues in the Practice of Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Nigeria: Empirical Data from Fertility Practitioners

Patrick I. Okonta
Richard Ajayi
Kehinde Bamgbopa
Rose Ogbeche
Chizara C. Okeke
Kingsley Onwuzurigbo


The need to formulate practice guidelines and ethical framework to guide the practice of assisted conception in Nigeria has been highlighted severally. The Association for Fertility and Reproductive Health (AFRH) ethics committee is charged with the objective of producing ethical guidelines that would govern the practice of assisted conception in Nigeria. This study was a survey of attendees at the AFRH international conference that held in Abuja in September 2017. The aim of the study was to generate empirical data that would form the drafting of ethical practice guidelines in Nigeria. Ninety-seven (50%) of the respondents were of the view that performing IVF for unmarried couples was ethical while about 70 (36%) were of the contrary opinion. Respondents were equally divided (45.26% versus 44.21%) on the ethical standing of performing IVF for single ladies. About 128 (70.33%) of respondents agree that egg donors should be paid more in compensation besides reimbursement for personal expenditure incurred during the process of egg donation and that they should be an upper age limit for clients requesting ART with donor eggs. Several unethical practices ongoing in Nigeria were highlighted including inadequate provision of information and counselling and exploitation of egg donors. Majority agreed on the need for a regulatory framework to govern the practice of ART in Nigeria. The diverse range of views and ethical issues concerning ART practice in Nigeria obtained from this study demonstrates the need to recognise the local context in Nigeria when applying universal principles of ethics.

Keywords: Ethics, Assisted Reproductive Technology, Nigeria