ART and Age − Gender Stereotypes in Medical Students’ Views

Anna Alichniewicz, Monika Michałowska

About author

Dr. Anna Alichniewicz,  M.D. Ph.D. (in philosophy)
Assistant professor at the Department of Bioethics, Chair of Humanities,
Medical University of Lodz
ul. Lindleya 6, 90-131 Łódź, Poland


About author

Dr. Monika Michałowska, M.A. Ph.D.
Assistant professor at the Department of Bioethics, Chair of Humanities,
Medical University of Lodz
ul. Lindleya 6, 90-131 Łódź, Poland


It seems interesting to find out how the situation of the Polish ART practice is reflected in the medical students’ opinions. To answer this question we carried out a two-stage research adopting a data-driven methodology based upon the grounded theory, in which we collected a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data. Our study has revealed students’ high acceptance of IVF and most of the additional procedures, except for IVF in the case of women over 40 and postmenopausal ones. The students’ main concerns were to be compatible with what is presented in medical literature and commonly accepted in medical practice, so the core categories they focused on in their argumentation were medical evidence and medical standards. Whereas the students were consistently trying to ground their reasoning on medical knowledge, their opinions reflected not only statements based on hard data, but also some gender stereotypes hidden in medical literature.

Full Text:



  1. A. Alichniewicz, M. Michałowska, “Challenges to ART market: a Polish case,” Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (1) 2015, p. 141–146.
  2. M. Carolan et al., “Older maternal age and intervention in labor: a population-based study comparing older and younger first-time mothers in Victoria, Australia,” Birth 38 (1) 2011, p. 24–29.
  3. J. Balasch, E. Gratacós, “Delayed childbearing: effects on fertility and the outcome of pregnancy,” Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology (24) 2012, p. 187–193.
  4. S. Bernstein, C. Wiesemann, “Should postponing motherhood via ‘social freezing’ be legally banned? An ethical analysis,” Laws 3 (2) 2014, p. 282–300.
  5. I. Bray et al., “Advanced paternal age: How old is too old?,” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 60 (10) 2006, p. 851–853.
  6. Ch. Dalman, P. Allebeck, “Paternal age and schizophrenia: further support for an association,” American Journal of Psychiatry 159 (9) 2002, p. 1591–1592.
  7. D. Dickenson et al., The Cambridge Medical Ethics Workbook, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2010.
  8. A. Favilli et al., “Pregnancy outcome in women aged 40 years or more,” The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine 25 (8) 2012, p. 1260–1263.
  9. B.G. Glaser, A. Strauss, The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research, Aldine, Chicago 1967.
  10. L. Huang et al., “Maternal age and risk of stillbirth: a systematic review,” Canadian Medical Association Journal 178 (2) 2008, p. 165–172.
  11. Ch. Hultman et al., “Advancing paternal age and risk of autism: new evidence from a population based study and a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies,” Molecular Psychiatry 16 (12) 2011, p. 1203–1212.
  12. IVF Polish governmental program website: [17.03.2015].
  13. L.C. Kenny et al., ‘‘Advanced maternal age and adverse pregnancy outcome: evidence from large contemporary cohort,” PLoS ONE 8 (2) 2013, e56583.
  14. M. Messant, “Mum’s Too Old,” Birmingham Evening Mail, 7 Jan. 2005, 24. Quote after: S. Wilkinson, Choosing Tomorrow’s Children, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2010, p. 37.
  15. NICE guidelines 2013, URL = [17.03.2015].
  16. A.A.M. Nybo et al., ‘‘Maternal age and fetal loss: population based register linkage study,” BMJ 320 (7251) 2000, p. 1708–1712.
  17. A.A.M. Nybo et al., “Advanced paternal age and risk of fetal death: a cohort study,” American Journal of Epidemiology 160 (12) 2004, p. 1214–1222.
  18. PBC’s set of guidelines concerning PGD (June 2012), URL = [17.03.2015]; PBC’s set of guidelines concerning Reproductive Medicine (Mar 2012), URL = [17.03.2015].
  19. PCPD’s set of guidelines 2009, URL = [17.03.2015].
  20. PCPD’s set of guidelines 2013, URL = [17.03.2015].
  21. R.C. Rabin, “Older fathers linked to lower I.Q. Scores,” New York Times March 9th, 2009, URL = 10dads.html?_r=0 [17.03.2015].
  22. R.M. Silver, “Fetal death,” Obstet Gynecol 109 (1) 2007, p. 153–167.
  23. R. Slama et al., “Influence of paternal age on the risk of spontaneous abortion,” American Journal of Epidemiology (161/9) 2005, p. 816–823.
  24. SPIN, European IVF Monitoring (EIM), 2011, URL = [17.03.2015].
  25. K. Zeiler, A. Malmquist, “Lesbian shared biological motherhood: the ethics of IVF with reception of oocytes from partner,” Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 17 (3) 2014, p. 347–355.


Article links:

Default URL:
English abstract URL:


All works are licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License.