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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.



Editorial: Editing human genes the CRISPR wayby Editorial BoardThe Chicago TribuneApril 27th, 2016Can we trust scientists and governments to set ethical boundaries for research and therapeutic use — and then stick to them? We're skeptical.
Gay couple win custody battle against Thai surrogate motherby Oliver HolmesThe Guardian [US]April 26th, 2016The central juvenile and family court ruled in favor of American Gordon Lake, the biological father of 15-month-old Baby Carmen.
Why Does Silicon Valley Want to Get So Many Women Pregnant?by Sarah EmersonMotherboard [VICE]April 22nd, 2016Women’s fertility apps have found a profitable niche in the predominantly-male tech scene, an industry hoping they’ll deliver a lot of valuable private information.
Eric Lander talks CRISPR and the infamous Nobel ‘rule of three’by Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostApril 21st, 2016At the Aspen Institute, Lander urged scientific modesty with new gene editing tools: “We are terrible predictors of the consequences of the changes we make.”
Scientists unveil the ‘most clever CRISPR gadget’ so farby Sharon BegleySTATApril 20th, 2016A new "base editing" method attempts to switch out individual letters of DNA, but it's usefulness and precision is unclear.
Here’s Why that Race-Sex Abortion Ban Bill is So Discriminatoryby Sital KalantryWomen's eNewsApril 19th, 2016PRENDA accuses minority women of racially discriminating against their own fetuses; the proposed federal bill aimed at decreasing abortion access “is absurd on its face.”
Gene-editing research in human embryos gains momentumby Ewen CallawayNature NewsApril 19th, 2016Experiments are now approved in Sweden, China and the United Kingdom.
In IVF, Questions About ‘Mosaic’ Embryosby Kira PeikoffThe New York TimesApril 18th, 201620% of embryos have both "normal" and "abnormal" cells, generating false positive genetic test results, and questions among fertility clinics about whether to implant.
Mexico Resists Becoming Next Reproductive Tourism “Paradise”Latin American Herald TribuneApril 14th, 2016Mexico has introduced legislation to restrict surrogacy to Mexican citizens on a non-profit basis, in an effort to protect against the foreign surrogacy market.
More babies, fewer multiple births, are resulting from assisted reproductionby Melissa HealyLos Angeles TimesApril 12th, 2016As assisted reproduction continues to rise in popularity, fewer women are opting for multiple embryo transfers, but this rate is still lower than physician groups recommend.
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