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Since the advent of in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology, a central question for bioethicists and society at large has been the moral status of human embryos created by such technology. The use of IVF to assist individuals or infertile couples to have genetically related offspring raises ethical concerns since multiple embryos—an average of 10 to 12—are created initially in case the first group of embryos (usually two to four) all fail to implant in the uterus to achieve pregnancy. The remaining embryos are typically cryopreserved in the event they are needed for future attempts at pregnancy. Since many individuals or couples achieve their pregnancy goals with at least some of their cryopreserved embryos remaining, the question arises of how they may ethically be treated.

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