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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.



Canadian Lawyers Urge Caution as Women Seek Unconventional Paths to ‘Autonomous Motherhood’by Douglas QuanMontreal GazetteJune 25th, 2015Despite British Columbia's legal recognition of same-sex parents who have children via sperm and egg donors, women seeking to become “single mothers by choice" face legal uncertainty.
Should You Freeze Your Eggs?by Debora SparMarie ClaireJune 22nd, 2015The entire business of egg freezing borders on a trap. What it's really selling is a hedge against regret: a way for women to avoid waking up one morning with the sudden realization that they've forgotten to have a baby.
Unused Embryos Pose Difficult Issue: What to Do With Themby Tamar LewinThe New York TimesJune 17th, 2015In storage facilities across the nation, hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos — perhaps a million — are preserved in silver tanks of liquid nitrogen.
UK Seeks Regulatory Advice for “Mitochondrial Replacement,” Fails to Mention Cross-Generational Implicationsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 17th, 2015How does one go about regulating the world’s first cross-generational biological experiment in human germline modification? The regulating body in charge isn’t exactly sure.
Down Syndrome Screening isn’t About Public Health. It’s About Eliminating a Group of People.by Renate LindemanWashington PostJune 16th, 2015Testing should be used to enhance health and human well-being instead of discriminating against people based on their genetic predisposition.
Pre-Implantation Diagnosis to be Allowedby Jeannie WurzSwissInfo [Switzerland]June 14th, 2015About 62% of Swiss voters have said yes to genetic screening of embryos before implantation in a woman’s uterus.
Surrogate Parenting: A Worldwide Industry, Lacking Global Rulesby Ari ShapiroNPRJune 11th, 2015The bottom line: If you're an American in the market for a surrogate — and you have money to spend — you can do it.
IVF: A Numbers Game Made Worse by Rogue Clinicsby Loretta HoulahanThe Age [Australia]June 10th, 2015A big discrepancy in the success rates of clinics is kept secret from us.
NHS Fertility Doctor Says Women 'Should Start Trying by 30' as Problems Can Take Years to Resolve by Louis DoréThe IndependentMay 31st, 2015"If a woman starts trying at 35, doctors have got to sort it out when she is already on a slippery fertility slope."
IVF isn't a Fix-All for Those Choosing to Delay Adulthoodby William LedgerThe Age [Australia]May 31st, 2015Today, just 12 per cent of IVF cycles in women over 40 result in the birth of a baby.
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