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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.



Why Facebook’s Egg Donor Ads Freak Me Out (And Should Freak You Out Too)by Sayantani DasGupta, Biopolitical Times guest contributorApril 27th, 2015With the disturbing aspects of the ova donation industry in mind, the additional digital twist of the personalized Facebook ova ad is particularly disturbing.
DNA Editing in Mouse Embryos Prevents Disease[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sara ReardonNature NewsApril 23rd, 2015“It is a bit of a slippery slope — if you start allowing any editing tool, you open a Pandora’s box of the possibility to edit anything.”
Critics Lash Out At Chinese Scientists Who Edited DNA In Human Embryos[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRApril 23rd, 2015For the first time, scientists have edited DNA in human embryos, a highly controversial step long considered off limits.
“It’s a Baby Farm.”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 23rd, 2015A new documentary uncovers the shocking realities of unregulated commercial surrogacy in India.
Editing Human Embryos: So This Happenedby Carl ZimmerNational GeographicApril 22nd, 2015A quick guide to the history behind this research, what the Chinese scientists did, and what it may signify.
Public interest group calls for strengthening global policies against human germline modification[Press statement]April 22nd, 2015“No researcher has the moral warrant to flout the globally widespread policy agreement against altering the human germline.”
Seeking Your Input: Survey on Egg Retrievalby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorApril 22nd, 2015We are surveying women’s knowledge and attitudes toward egg retrieval to yield critical insights into how best to frame health information intended to enable women to make informed choices.
The Rights of Donor-Conceived Offspringby Naomi Cahn, Biopolitical Times guest contributorApril 15th, 2015While their parents’ choices affect them as children, donor-conceived children grow up, and many become curious about their origins. The law’s tight focus on the parent-child relationship excludes legal questions relating to donor-conceived adults.
Masters of our Future: Genetic Tweaking with Mitochondrial Donationby Max GorynskiShout Out UKApril 14th, 2015It raises a question that itself provokes as much awe as anxiety: can we really modify our nature, and to what end?
Lightly Regulated In Vitro Fertilization Yields Thousands of Babies Annually[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Michael OlloveThe Washington PostApril 13th, 2015Both the federal government and the states have given the multi-billion-dollar industry a wide berth, which makes this country very much an outlier compared with the rest of the developed world.
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