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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.



Prenatal Tests: Oversold and Misunderstoodby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorDecember 16th, 2014A scathing investigative report on the accuracy of noninvasive prenatal testing is likely to shift the terms of this important conversation.
Have New Prenatal Tests Been Dangerously Oversold?by Beth DaleyNew England Center for Investigative ReportingDecember 12th, 2014Many prenatal testing companies promise more than they can deliver. Two studies show that results can be a false alarm half of the time.
Commercialisation and the Moral Obligation to Create 'Designer' Babiesby John GallowayBioNewsDecember 8th, 2014Julian Savulescu made the case for a new 'eugenics', without ever using the word, at Progress Educational Trust's 2014 annual conference.
Sperm Donor, Life Partnerby Alana SemuelsThe AtlanticDecember 8th, 2014Just because women can create and raise a baby alone doesn't mean they want to. An increasing number of women and lesbian couples are seeking an involved father for a donor.
Couple Spends $50K to Choose Baby's Sex, Shining Light on Trend[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Beth GreenfieldYahooDecember 5th, 2014What if a boy wants to write poetry? What if a girl wants to play basketball? Not wear dresses? Announce that she’s transgender?
Twins: The Fetal Paradoxby Amy KleinNewsweekNovember 29th, 2014Although twins and triplets come with short- and long-term health risks to both mother and baby, most fertility clinics are still transferring two, three, or four embryos to ensure higher success rates.
Thailand’s Parliament Approves Bill Banning Commercial surrogacyAssociated Press in BangkokNovember 28th, 2014The decision follows several surrogacy scandals this year, including one in which an Australian couple left behind a baby with Down syndrome.
Undercover Assessment of Five Commercial NIPT Labs Points to Need for Better Quality Controlby Julia KarowGenomeWebNovember 25th, 2014Three of five commercial laboratories offering noninvasive prenatal testing reported normal results in samples from women who weren't even pregnant.
When Making Babies Goes High Tech: A Future Tense Event Recap[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Ariel BogleSlateNovember 24th, 2014From pre-implantation genetic screening to exo-wombs, these changes could even evolve our most basic notions of family and society.
Want Blue Eyes With That Baby?: The Strange New World of Human Reproduction[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Eleanor CliftThe Daily BeastNovember 24th, 2014Should a woman’s own 55-year-old mother bear the woman’s triplets? Well, it’s happening. Where should society draw the lines here?
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