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In Vitro Fertilization


Articles

Human Gene Editing Arrives in America

Reflections on the Instrumentalization of Human Life

July 28, 2017

Gene Editing: New Technology, Old Moral Questions

Winter 2016Brendan P. Foht on using CRISPR to help patients and design our descendants

Paid Parenthood

Spring 2012Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill on why people sell their eggs and sperm

The Near Miracle of Male Infertility Treatment

Winter 2011Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill on creating infertile fathers

Embryos in Limbo

Spring 2009Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill on IVF and indecision about nascent life

Blogging Infertility

Winter 2008

Cheryl Miller on the lively and fractious community of “infertiles”

Fertility Gone Mad

Pregnancy After Menopause, IVF Birth defects, & More

Spring 2003

My Mother, the Embryo

IVF's Latest: She-Males, Fetal Eggs, and Children of the Unborn

Summer 2003

Eugenics—Sacred and Profane

Summer 2003Christine Rosen on Orthodox matchmakers, IVF clinics, and genetic testing

Getting Serious About IVF

Spring 2004Adam Wolfson on the new report from the President’s Council on Bioethics

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Blog Posts

ART in the News

A new test for Down syndrome, frozen embryo laws, and more

October 10, 2008

ART in the News

Cheap IVF, medical tourism, and more

October 3, 2008

ART in the News

Clay Aiken: Gay Dad, Teen Pregnancy Barbie, and More

September 26, 2008

“Sex is for recreation; leave reproduction to the professionals.”

September 24, 2008

In Intelligent Life magazine, Helen Joyce discusses “social egg-banking” and the IVF revolution to come

I believe the true IVF revolution is still to come. Soon, IVF may be better than natural conception for many, perhaps most, couples, not just those who can't make babies the usual way and the fewer still who know they carry genetic diseases.

The first steps to this reproductive nirvana are already being taken by a few brave, or foolhardy, souls. They are freezing (or, strictly speaking, “vitrifying”) their eggs in order to keep them fresh till the right man comes along. Men have been able to freeze and bank their sperm for decades, for example when facing cancer treatment that risks leaving them infertile, and couples can store surplus embryos produced during IVF. But eggs are a tougher challenge. Sperm are small, and of the tens of millions in a single ejaculation plenty will survive freezing and thawing; a couple of days after fertilisation, an embryo will consist of several cells, and even if a few don't survive the trauma, the embryo itself often will. Eggs, though, are single cells—so they have no built-in redundancy—and big (many times larger than the average human cell), so they are full of water that can form ice crystals and destroy the delicate structures inside them.

 

ART in the News

An Artist's Journey, Sperm Donor Roots, Aussie Clones, and More

September 23, 2008

Newsweek Tackles What Women Want

September 17, 2008

Newsweek’s latest issue asks what women want. No surprise, there are a few articles on ART developments.

The first looks at the challenges facing infertile women in developing countries

In some developing countries, the consequences of infertility—which can include ostracism, physical abuse and even suicide—are heartbreaking. “If you are infertile in some cultures, you are less than a dog,” says Willem Ombelet of the Genk Institute for Fertility Technology in Belgium. Women are often uneducated, so their only identity comes from being moms. “It [infertility] is an issue of profound human suffering, particularly for women,” says Marcia Inhorn, professor of anthropology and international affairs at Yale University. “It’s a human-rights issue.”

The second examines the rise of the “advanced maternal age” mom:

The reasons women become first-time moms or add to the brood later in life are as varied as the women themselves. There are career goals to meet. And bank accounts to grow. Some women waited for marriage. Some never married at all. There are second marriages. And even surprise births.

For those who wait, getting pregnant is a roll of the dice even with the help of science. “Not every egg over age 40 is created the same,” says Dr. Karen Ashby, assistant professor of reproductive biology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. “Some healthy women will get pregnant without a problem, other women simply won’t.”

 

ART in the News

Gaybies, Afterdeath Children, the 66 Club, and more

September 15, 2008

ART in the News

Y-guys, the loneliest kind of infertility, Dara Torres, and more

September 2, 2008

Donated Generation

August 28, 2008

The summer issue of The New Atlantis is now online. As always, there are some terrific articles, including Rita Koganzon's foray into the world of Second Life and James Bowman look at the "dumbest generation."

Your humble blogger also has an article in the issue--it's on donor-conceived children and the rise of open-donor programs. Many, many thanks are in order to DI-Dad blogger Eric Schwartzman and Circle Surrogacy's John Weltman for sharing their stories. Joanna Scheib and Elizabeth Marquardt were both incredibly helpful and generous with their time and knowledge.

An excerpt:

When Eric Schwartzman went in for a medical exam six months before his wedding, he didn't expect to hear he was infertile. After the examination, the doctor suggested Schwartzman have a sperm-count test. Schwartzman thought nothing of it. Then the results came in. He was diagnosed with azoospermia, a condition in which the man produces virtually no sperm. "Don't plan on having kids naturally," his doctor told him. "You can just adopt."

Schwartzman and his wife were devastated. He offered to call off the wedding, but she refused. Instead, they went to a fertility clinic, where Schwartzman underwent two testicular biopsies to retrieve sperm for in vitro fertilization (IVF). As a backup, his doctor suggested the couple select a sperm donor, and they agreed without really taking the possibility seriously. But when two IVF cycles failed, he and his wife reconsidered.

Schwartzman is now the father of two "half-adopted" children, as he calls them, both conceived through donor insemination. Most of the time, he says, he focuses on day-to-day life--"getting them potty trained" and the like. But he sometimes wonders what effect their unusual beginnings will have on them. 

Still More on 30 Years of IVF (And Britain's Donor Shortage)

July 22, 2008

The London Telegraph has a series of articles on ART today, including a number of first-hand accounts from patients and donors. There are some great stories, but since I'm working on a piece about donor registries, I was most interested in the ones about the effect of the anonymity ban on donor recruitment. 

The answer is not good — as this U.K. government report recently attested.

Sophie Turner and her partner Karen Harvey have spent two years trying to conceive a child. After learning about the waiting list for sperm donors, the couple turned to a Danish cryobank. The trips did not result in a baby, so the couple returned to the U.K. where they are still waiting for a donor:

After two failed attempts, she's being treated at Barts, where there's a three-month waiting list for British sperm. Any child we have will be able to contact the sperm donor when he or she is 18; I think it's a good thing that children know where they come from, but I'm not sure of the effect it will have on us as a family.

Sue Adlam is a school teacher. She waited a year for an egg donor to conceive her first child, and is now searching for another donor to conceive a sibling:

I feel as if I've spent half my life waiting, but as anyone who's ever suffered from infertility knows, what keeps you going through all the sadness is the prospect of the amazing miracle of a baby at the end of it all. Many women are faced with the prospect of a wait of at least two years, but my hope is that things will begin to improve in the long term.

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