Fetal reduction

Ana S. Carvalho, Margarida Silvestre, Susana Magalhães, Joana Araújo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Louise Brown was the first baby born through the fertility treatment, in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 1978. In the more than 30 years since that event, millions of babies have been born through infertility therapies. These incredible success stories, however, have had a corresponding “price to pay” in the form of an increased number of multifetal pregnancies. Reduction of triplets or higher-order multiple pregnancies has been performed since the 1980s, aiming to reduce maternal and fetal adverse outcomes only in life and death situations. However, currently the debate is also on whether or not it will be appropriate to offer fetal reduction (FR) routinely for twins, even natural ones, with reasons other than medical ones. Therefore the aim of this article is to analyze the differences regarding the various potential uses of fetal reduction, medical and nonmedical, and selective or nonselective, in order to foster the ethical debate on issues related with human embryo/fetus respect, the connections between FR and abortion and reproductive autonomy versus reproductive responsibility.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClinical ethics at the crossroads of genetic and reproductive technologies
EditorsSorin Hostiuc
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128137642
ISBN (Print)9780128137659
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Embryo status
  • Ethics
  • Fetal reduction
  • Reproductive autonomy
  • Reproductive responsibility
  • Selective fetal reduction
  • Vulnerability


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