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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.



International Surrogacy, Global Consumerism, Harms to Women and Childrenby Carmel Shalev, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 15th, 2014Medical associations, nations, and the international community must intervene in the unregulated global market for surrogacy to protect, promote and sanction the human dignity and human rights of women and children.
New Poll Finds Only 18% of British Adults in Support of "3-Person IVF"by Jessica CussinsBiopolitcal TimesSeptember 15th, 2014A newly released poll finds substantial reluctance among British public to change UK law to allow the genetic modification of future generations.
Woman Receives First Stem Cell Therapy Using Her Own Skin Cellsby Alice ParkTimeSeptember 12th, 2014A Japanese woman is the first to receive retinal cells made from her own skin cells.
Surrogate Targeted After Backing OutBangkok PostSeptember 9th, 2014A Thai surrogate mother who had second thoughts appealed for help from authorities after becoming the target of threats and intimidation by the surrogacy clinic and police working for them.
1 in 27 Babies Conceived Using IVF in 2012The Yomiuri ShimbunSeptember 9th, 2014There has been a sharp increase from 10 years ago in the number of babies in Japan conceived by in vitro fertilization, according to the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
A Manifesto for Playing God with Human Evolutionby Carl ElliottNew ScientistSeptember 8th, 2014Fancy living forever, or uploading your mind to the net? The Proactionary Imperative embraces transhumanist dreams, but reminds why we need medical ethics.
An International Agreement on Commercial Surrogacy? by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 4th, 2014A three-day convening in The Hague brought together scholars, women’s health and human rights advocates, and policymakers from 27 countries to tackle concerns about international commercial surrogacy.
"3-Person IVF" Debated in UK Parliamentby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 3rd, 2014The debate in Britain over combining eggs or embryos to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease received a public airing, though no firm conclusion, in the House of Commons on September 1st.
Australian Father of Thai Surrogate Twins Charged with Sexually Abusing ThemThe TelegraphSeptember 2nd, 2014Thailand's surrogacy industry has been thrown into fresh turmoil - following the case of abandoned Down's syndrome baby Gammy - with a separate incident of abuse.
Womb for rent: A heart to carry another woman’s babyby Cecilia OkothNew VisionSeptember 2nd, 2014Imagine a woman desperately trying to get pregnant, but so far every attempt is unsuccessful. Would you be brave enough to “get pregnant for her?” Aisha Nansereko, a Ugandan woman, did. This is her story.
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