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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.



Lisa Ikemoto Guest Piece on Human Germline Genetic Modificationby Lisa C. IkemotoKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogMarch 23rd, 2015The call for a moratorium is as much a game changer as the technology itself. It creates an opportunity for research transparency and open exchange between the scientific community and the lay public.
A Modern Woman's Burden[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Natalie LampertNew RepublicMarch 20th, 2015How much does egg-freezing technology help delay reproduction?
A Tipping Point on Human Germline Modification?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2015Amidst reports that human embryos have been modified using the gene editing technique CRISPR, several groups of scientists have issued statements proposing moratoria on human germline genome editing.
States aren't Eager to Regulate Fertility Industry[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Michael OlloveUSA TodayMarch 19th, 2015The Utah Legislature has ventured into the "Wild West of the fertility industry" by passing a law giving children conceived via sperm donation access to the medical histories of their biological fathers.
“High IQ Eggs Wanted” – ads appeal to ego and altruism, offer $10,000by Lisa C. Ikemoto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMarch 19th, 2015The ABCs of egg donation are SAT, IQ, and college ranking, not to mention youth, race, and good looks, but marketing motivates young women with a carefully calibrated ratio of altruism and financial need.
Industry Body Calls for Gene-Editing Moratoriumby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMarch 12th, 2015Gene-editing companies say research on altering the DNA of human reproductive cells is dangerous and unethical.
Scientists Sound Alarm Over DNA Editing of Human Embryosby David CyranoskiNature NewsMarch 12th, 2015Researchers call on scientists to agree not to modify human embryos — even for research.
Polish Government Backs Bill to Regulate IVF Treatmentby Marcin GoettigReuters [Poland]March 10th, 2015The bill would also ban sales and destruction of human embryos, cloning of human embryos and manipulation of human DNA.
How Fear Fuels the Business of Egg Freezingby Danielle PaquetteThe Washington PostMarch 6th, 2015The procedure’s popularity and low odds of success have heightened tension between marketers and some doctors: What is responsible advertising — and what is fear mongering?
Pregnant Women Are Finding Out They Have Cancer From A Genetic Test Of Their Babiesby Virginia HughesBuzzFeedMarch 5th, 2015When it comes to prenatal tests, it’s not clear whether incidental findings have clear-cut diagnostic value. And false positives might spur a pregnant woman to go through unnecessary medical procedures.
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