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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.



Turning back the biological clock comes at a price by Rhiannon Lucy CosslettThe GuardianJuly 25th, 2016Egg freezing is marketed as the answer to precarious young lives yet excludes most of those it claims to help.
What No One Tells You About Egg Donorsby Leah CampbellMom.meJuly 22nd, 2016The profit-driven egg industry does not take the medical needs of egg donors or their right to informed choice seriously.
Sperm Banks Accused of Losing Samples and Lying About Donorsby Tamar LewinThe New York TimesJuly 21st, 2016Sperm banks are not required to verify information provided by sperm donors.
Who should we believe when it comes to fertility?New ScientistJuly 20th, 2016Difficult choices over when to start a family are not made any easier by conflicting signals from doctors and fertility clinics.
Fertility doc Antinori indictedASNAJuly 20th, 2016Antinori is charged with forcibly removing eggs from a patient.
I.V.F. Does Not Raise Breast Cancer Risk, Study Showsby Catherine Saint LouisThe New York TimesJuly 19th, 2016While the study is large and comprehensive, its results remain inconclusive and contradict other studies.
Frozen Eggs and Heated Debatesby Angel Petropanagos, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 12th, 2016What’s missing and what’s misrepresented in public debates about social egg freezing?
Uterus transplants: ‘My sister gave me her womb’ by Tim LewisThe Guardian July 10th, 2016Lolita Wästerlund is one of the first women in the world to have a uterine transplant.
First he pioneered a new way of making life. Now he wants to try it in peopleby Karen WeintraubSTATJuly 8th, 2016Three-parent IVF has been tried in monkeys, but further research is needed to fully assess safety and effectiveness.
US firm begins to market Cambodia-based surrogacy serviceby Will Jackson & Vandy MuongThe Phnom Penh PostJuly 6th, 2016Surrogacy Cambodia markets cross-border surrogacy despite the Cambodian government's tacit disapproval of surrogacy.
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