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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.



What Good is a Scientific Meeting If You Dismiss the Science?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2014The Science and Technology Committee of the UK Parliament held an evidence hearing last week to examine the science and proposed regulation of so-called “mitochondrial donation,” or “3-person IVF,” but huge swaths of evidence were widely dismissed.
The Sobering Facts About Egg Freezing That Nobody’s Talking Aboutby Pamela Mahoney TsigdinosWiredOctober 24th, 2014Women must be fully informed about reproductive medicine before setting their hopes on it. Egg freezing and IVF are high-risk processes with life changing consequences.
Silicon Valley’s Egg-Freezing Perk Is Bad for People Across the Boardby Marcy DarnovskyRH Reality CheckOctober 23rd, 2014Egg freezing is an individualized, questionably effective technical fix for a fundamentally social problem.
Minister Sparks Backlash for Suggesting Foreigners Could Undergo 'Three-Parent Babies' IVF Treatment in Britainby Ben Riley-SmithTelegraphOctober 23rd, 2014Jane Ellison says she expects overseas patients to receive controversial IVF treatment if Parliament approves legislation in move politicians say could trigger new health tourism.
For $100,000, You Can Clone Your Dogby Josh DeanBloomberg BusinessweekOctober 22nd, 2014Dr. Hwang Woo Suk, infamous for his announcement of the first cloning of a human embryo that turned out to be fabricated, now uses somatic cell nuclear transfer to clone people's beloved dogs.
Twins Born Through IVF 'More Likely to Suffer Problems'by Sarah KnaptonTelegraphOctober 20th, 2014Giving birth to twins, as opposed to singletons, through fertility treatment substantially increases the risk to both mother and children, new research finds.
Yes, I Froze My Eggs, But am I a Victim of a New Fertility Racket?by Jemma KennedyThe GuardianOctober 18th, 2014Last week, Apple joined ranks with Facebook in offering free egg-freezing to staff who want to delay having children. Is this a step towards equality in the workplace or a machiavellian form of social engineering?
How the Pro-Choice Movement Excludes People With Disabilitiesby Lenzi SheibleRH Reality CheckOctober 17th, 2014If we in the pro-choice movement don’t start paying serious attention to the ways in which our own practices contribute to the dehumanization of people with disabilities, we can’t keep claiming to operate under a reproductive justice framework at all.
Three Years On, What Have We Learned About Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening?by Mark LeachDown Syndrome Prenatal TestingOctober 17th, 2014Three years ago, a new prenatal test for Down syndrome entered the market offering earlier, safer, and more accurate results. What have we learned about this new technology since then?
Silicon Valley Companies Add New Benefit For Women: Egg-Freezing[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Laura SydellNPROctober 17th, 2014The addition of the benefit by Facebook and Apple comes as tech companies face mounting pressure to hire more women, but some warn it may increase pressure those employees feel to put off having kids.
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