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About Assisted Reproduction


Most assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are used to treat infertility. Others are used when there are no fertility problems. Embryo screening or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, for example, is used in order to prevent the births of children with specific genetic characteristics.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) refers to assisted reproduction procedures in which sperm and eggs are joined outside a woman's body. Women undergoing IVF are given hormonal drugs to promote the development of multiple eggs, which are retrieved with a minor surgical procedure. The eggs are mixed with sperm; one or more of those that fertilize are then transferred to the woman's uterus.

IVF has been in use since 1978 and has resulted in almost four million births worldwide. A number of IVF-related techniques have been introduced since then. Some of these, such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and commercial gestational surrogacy, raise significant ethical and policy concerns. In the United States alone, the assisted reproduction business is estimated to create over $3 billion in revenues a year.

Research on the risks associated with ART is notoriously inadequate. There have been few follow-up studies either on women who have used ARTs or their children. The United States is also known for having few laws governing assisted reproduction and little oversight of ART facilities.



DIY sperm test to hit the market this fallby Meghana KeshavanSTAT NewsJune 20th, 2016The semen centrifuge called Trak will calculate sperm count but not sperm motility or other factors that affect fertility.
Do women who donate their eggs run a health risk?by Sandra G. BoodmanThe Washington PostJune 20th, 2016People who make egg donations may feel exploited during the process and experience serious health consequences due to a dearth of research on the effects of egg retrieval.
Japanese city backs egg-freezing scheme to boost birthrate by Associated Press [Urayasu, Japan]The Guardian June 20th, 2016The city of Urayasu allocates £600,000 for a project in which women will receive a substantial discount to freeze their eggs.
Genetically enhancing our children could raise interest ratesby James D. MillerBusiness InsiderJune 19th, 2016Should researchers develop technology to genetically decipher and alter intelligence, individuals and the state would borrow more and save less.
Subsidised egg freezing isn’t the answer to Japan’s birth rateby Angel PetropanagosNew ScientistJune 17th, 2016The health risks of egg retrieval make Japan's publicly-funded egg freezing initiative a poor solution to the country's problem of population shrinkage.
‘Safe’ call? My thoughts on the latest mitochondrial replacement paper by Ted MorrowTed's BlogJune 14th, 2016A paper published by Nature discusses mitochondrial replacement but underplays the danger of "mitonuclear mismatching."
Testing, testing: Prenatal genetic screeningby Joe GibesTrinity International University June 10th, 2016Confusion and uncertainty surround both the accuracy of prenatal genetic screening and people's understanding of what PGS is.
The Politics of Women’s Eggsby Diane ToberUndarkJune 10th, 2016Scientists are eager to pay women for their eggs, but they are less interested in understanding the long-term health impacts of egg donation.
Better Mitochondrial Replacement: But Why? by Ricki LewisPLOSJune 9th, 2016Mitochondrial replacement raises questions around necessity and efficacy, as the relatively new process manipulates embryos.
Mitochondrial Replacement Hype Goes Nuclear Including by Wellcome Trustby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheJune 9th, 2016The risks of 3-person IVF are improperly accounted for amidst overblown optimism.
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