Assisted Reproduction

Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) are usually used to treat infertility. One of the most common technologies is in vitro fertilization (IVF), an ART procedure in which sperm and eggs are joined outside the body, and the resulting embryo is transferred to a uterus in an effort to establish a pregnancy. Surrogacy is another form of assisted reproduction that involves a woman who agrees, as a third party, to be impregnated with, gestate, and deliver the embryo of another couple or person, often in exchange for payment.

Although ARTs help some people find new avenues to have the children they’ve always wanted, they can pose significant safety risks that are often overlooked. For instance, extracting eggs from the body typically involves taking hormonal drugs to promote the simultaneous development of multiple eggs. This is true whether the eggs are for one’s own IVF treatment, for someone else’s, or to provide materials for researchers. Yet evidence about the severity and extent of risks from egg retrieval is widely recognized as inadequate. A common short-term risk is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). This is often a mild reaction, but it can become serious enough to require hospitalization and, in rare cases, can cause death.

There is also strong concern about the common imbalances of power among the parties involved in assisted reproduction, particularly because policies pertaining to third-party assisted reproduction vary widely. Some jurisdictions prohibit surrogacy while others limit compensation to expenses and lost wages. In a number of U.S. states and a few other areas, surrogacy is permitted as a market transaction, often with little or no oversight. This has led some prospective parents to leave their own countries in order to avoid regulations or to save money, a phenomenon known as “cross-border reproductive care” or “reproductive tourism.” 

Biopolitical Times

To contemplate the news that Our Bodies, Ourselves will cease updating its print and online information is to contemplate the many ways in which the world has changed since the heady days at the inception of Second Wave feminism. An icon of women’s health almost from the moment of its first, mimeographed 193-page edition in December 1970, when members of the Boston Women’s Health Collective took medicine and sexuality into their own hands and penned the chapters that radically altered...

Press Statement

The first baby born as a result of in vitro fertilization (IVF) celebrates her 40th birthday on July 25. This is a landmark not only for Louise Brown but also for the millions of others whose lives have been impacted...

Aggregated News

People hoping to be parents in the UK are being sold “false hope” by foreign IVF clinics claiming success rates...

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A Chinese baby was born by a surrogate mother four years after his parents were killed in a car accident.


Blue-tinted image of a human oocyte pierced by a needle.

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A male baby rests his arms on the top of an outdoor bench and looks into the distance.

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A newborn baby gazes at the viewer while lying down on a blanket.

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Blue-tinted image of human egg pierced by a slim needle.

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