Attitudes and Opinions of Health Professionals regarding in Vitro Fertilization

Background: Over the past few decades the human fertility rate has decreased significantly, and currently in Greece 17% of couples experience infertility. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the several assisted reproductive techniques (ART) used as a treatment to help infertile couples to conceive a baby. Aim: The aim of the study was to evaluate the attitudes and beliefs of Greek health care professionals about IVF treatment and their correlation with various demographic factors, such as gender, age, occupation and the importance of religion. Method: The study sample consisted of 303 individuals recruited from the medical and nursing personnel of three organizations, a public general hospital, a university hospital and a social insurance institute (ΙΚΑ), who completed an anonymous questionnaire. Descriptive statistics (frequency, percentage, means, standard deviation, standard error) were used to describe the basic features of the data gathered in the study. The variability among qualitative variables was checked with the x2 test. Quantitative variables were analyzed with the Mann-Whitney U test. Results: The majority of the health care professionals disagreed with the use of IVF treatment by homosexual or very old couples (81.7% and 85.3%, respectively), and 43.7% of the sample disagreed with the use of IVF by unmarried couples and financially independent woman. Regarding the possibility of posthumous IVF and the use of surrogate mother, 37% and 38.3% agreed, respectively and 46.4% agreed with IVF treatment when the man suffers from azoospermia. The independent variables found to influence the attitudes towards IVF were the significance to the respondent of religion and the occupational status. Conclusions: In Greece, it appears that IVF treatment is not generally considered morally acceptable when used outside of traditional marriage or for older couples and for same-sex couples, while there is a moral hesitation when a surrogate motherhood is involved.