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Fertility Preservation for a Teenager with Differences (Disorders) of Sex Development: An Ethics Case Study

Campo-Engelstein, L.; Chen, D.; Baratz, A. B.; Johnson, E. K.; Finlayson, C.

J Clin Ethics. 2019 Jun 13; 30(2):143-153


Fertility preservation has become more common for various populations, including oncology patients, transgender individuals, and women who are concerned about age-related infertility. Little attention has been paid to fertility preservation for patients with differences/disorders of sex development (DSD). Our goal in this article is to address specific ethical considerations that are unique to this patient population. To this end, we present a hypothetical DSD case. We then explore ethical considerations related to patient's age, risk of cancer, concern about genetic transmission of a DSD condition to children, co-occurring gender dysphoria, and access to experimental fertility preservation procedures. Given the limitations of current technologies, we recommend offering fertility preservation to individuals living with DSD using an informed decision-making approach that instills realistic expectations and minimizes the potential for false hope. Finally, we conclude with practical recommendations for this case based on the ethical considerations.

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