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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.



Human Gene Editing: A Timeline of CRISPR Cover StoriesWith recent gene editing tools, a number of high-profile media are featuring CRISPR on their covers and front pages. We gather highlights since early 2015, along with opinion polls, TV shows, and editorial board statements.
'No solid evidence' for IVF add-on successby Deborah CohenBBC PanoramaNovember 28th, 2016Year-long Oxford study finds that nearly all costly add-on treatments offered by UK fertility clinics are unreliable, misleading, and risky.
With Fertility Rate in China Low, Some Press to Legalize Births Outside Marriageby Didi Kirsten TatlowThe New York TimesNovember 17th, 2016Civil society groups are calling for greater reproductive freedom for single women, which would also affect lesbians.
Abortion-By-Mail Study Outrages Opponentsby Phil GalewitzKQED California HealthlineNovember 16th, 2016Gynuity Health Projects pilots a study in Hawaii, New York, Oregon, and Washington that uses telemedicine as an alternative for declining access.
Increase in IVF complications raises concerns over use of fertility drugsby Hannah DevlinThe Guardian [US]November 13th, 2016Stronger drugs used to harvest more eggs could also be linked to a 40% increase in cases of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
ACCC puts IVF clinics 'on notice' over misleading success rate claimsby Madeleine MorrisABC [Australia]November 13th, 2016Some major Australian fertility clinics changed confusing marketing messages on their websites after a consumer group's investigation documented their misleading claims.
San Diego Scientists Help Develop New Twist On In Vitro Fertilizationby David WagnerKPBSNovember 10th, 2016The patent holder for a related "3-person IVF" technique reports new work with "polar body genome transfer." Some experts say none of these approaches have been proven safe.
Why We Need to Rethink Ethnicity-Based Genetic Testingby Shivani NazarethUS News & World ReportNovember 7th, 2016The problem with genetic tests that assume people exist in neat race and ethnicity categories is that it simply is not an accurate reflection of their ancestry.
Germany's sperm bank plans leakedby Ben KnightDeutsche WelleNovember 3rd, 2016The German government is making good on its promise to the children of sperm donors by setting up a central database to make it easier for them to find their biological fathers.
Cambodia bans booming commercial surrogacy industryby AFPChannel News AsiaNovember 3rd, 2016A government edict makes Cambodia the latest country to ban commercial surrogacy after prohibitions in other parts of the globe sparked a local boom in business.
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