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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.



Will Modern Genetics Turn Us Into Gene “Genies”?by Marcy Darnovsky, Dan Sarewitz, Samuel Weiss Evans, Arvis Sulovari, Eric A. WidraZócalo Public SquareMay 24th, 2016Contributors discuss their stances on the dangers and potential benefits of gene manipulation.
Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #5: Creating Super-Peopleby Natalie OveyssiBiopolitical TimesMay 23rd, 2016Advocates of eugenics in the early twentieth century thought that careful mating would produce smarter, stronger, better people. What would these people look like? How would they behave? What kind of society would they form? Could making a better world be so simple?
Is Egg Freezing Only for White Women?by Reniqua AllenThe New York Times [Opinion]May 21st, 2016In addition to egg freezing's unknown risks and success rates, black women are being excluded from "fertility insurance" conversations and face stigma.
Bill Banning Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy Consideredby Tanya LewisThe ScientistMay 19th, 2016A US Senate committee is considering extending a ban on mitochondrial DNA transfer.
UK should freeze mitochondrial replacement as Egli paper ID’s serious problemby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheMay 19th, 2016New research showing that transfer of one egg's nucleus into another egg might also bring along diseased mitochondria has renewed calls to freeze 3-person IVF.
Fertility watchdog ‘increasingly concerned’ about dubious treatments sold by private clinics as experts warn childless couples are being exploitedby Ian JohnstonThe Independent [UK]May 15th, 2016Private fertility clinics may be offering "add-on" treatments that are unwarranted and ineffective, with consequences for patients' health and finances.
Orphan Black emphasizes the science in its sci-fi with a disturbing chapter on eugenicsby Caroline FramkeVoxMay 15th, 2016TV show tackles the personal, scientific, and societal implications of eugenics, gene editing, and germline engineering.
Indian woman gives birth at ~70 with help of IVFby Andrew MarszalThe Telegraph [UK]May 10th, 2016Post-menopausal births with donor eggs are increasingly common in India, where couples are often under intense social pressure to have children.
What the man in the street thinks about human enhancement[citing CGS consultant Pete Shanks]by Michael CookBioEdgeMay 7th, 2016Polls show that more than 80% of people surveyed thought babies should not be genetically modified for increased intelligence or sporting ability.
Scientists are trying to use CRISPR to fix everything. What’s wrong with that?by Emily McManusTED IdeasMay 5th, 2016A historian of eugenics asks: "Will individuals start making decisions to use new biotech to improve themselves and their children?"
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