Op-Ed

Last year, Barbara Seaman's article, "Is This Any Way to Have a Baby?" in O (Oprah) Magazine (February 2004) caused quite a stir among infertility experts as well as women dealing with infertility. It explored women's experiences with fertility drugs and underscored the paucity of long term safety data as well as the serious, occasionally irreversible problems experienced by some women using these drugs. In response, members of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) posted an unusual rebuttal at the ASRM website, and the controversies continue.

Because there is now significant debate about embryo stem cell research, and because one type of embryo stem cell research ("somatic cell nuclear transfer" or SCNT) requires women volunteers to undergo egg extraction to produce eggs for research purposes, there is renewed attention to the larger question of risks to women's health from egg extraction procedures. These procedures are the same whether performed for reproductive purposes — as is the case in an infertility clinic where women undergo "in vitro fertilization" (IVF) procedures — or...