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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.



Key Questions About the Social and Ethical Implications of Nuclear Genome Transfer or “3-Person IVF” Techniquesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2015As the Institute of Medicine launches an official assessment over the next year, here are eight questions to consider.
Institute of Medicine to Study the Social Policy and Ethics of “3-Person IVF”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2015The FDA held a public meeting last year to assess the safety and efficacy of nuclear genome transfer for the prevention of transmission of mitochondrial diseases. Now it has asked the Institute of Medicine to consider the social and ethical issues.
UK May Be Poised for “Historic Mistake” on “3-Person IVF”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2015A Parliamentary vote is expected as soon as February.
'Designer Babies' Debate Should Start, Scientists Sayby James GallagherBBC NewsJanuary 18th, 2015New gene editing techniques make "designer babies" more feasible, but that does not mean it's inevitably the way we have to go as a society.
Three-Parent Baby Pioneer Jamie Grifo: ‘The Brits Will be Ahead of the World’by Steve ConnorThe IndependentJanuary 16th, 2015A fertility doctor insists his "three-parent embryo" technique is safe, even though the woman who became pregnant with twins using it lost both babies.
Center for Genetics and Society Report on Global Surrogacy Practices[Press statement]January 16th, 2015Just Released: Center for Genetics and Society Report on Global Surrogacy Practices, part of a series from the landmark Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Surrogacy
When Does the Pursuit of Pregnancy Go Too Far?by Pamela M. TsigdinosMediumJanuary 15th, 2015The unregulated and fast-growing fertility industry is predicated on a tantalizing promise: "We can get you pregnant." But at what cost?
IVF Booster Offered in Canada But Not US[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Alison MotlukCanadian Medical Association JournalJanuary 14th, 2015A fertility treatment that purports to help older women get pregnant by using mitochondria from their own ovarian stem cells is now being offered in Toronto, but nowhere else in North America.
Surrogate Mothers Do Fine In Decade Following Birthby Lisa RapaportReutersJanuary 9th, 2015A decade after giving birth, surrogate mothers don't appear to suffer lasting mental health difficulties as a result of giving away the babies they delivered, a small study suggests.
The Future of Conceptionby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 8th, 2015Numerous writers took advantage of the ending year to look broadly at just how drastically we are changing the process of baby-making, and what it all means for society.
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