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In Vitro Fertilization
Spring 2012 • Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill on why people sell their eggs and sperm
Winter 2011 • Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill on creating infertile fathers
Spring 2009 • Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill on IVF and indecision about nascent life
Winter 2008 •
Cheryl Miller on the lively and fractious community of “infertiles”
Summer 2007 • Cheryl Miller reviews Liza Mundy’s Everything Conceivable
Summer 2006 • Patrick Lee and Robert P. George on the biology of the early embryo
Fall 2004 - Winter 2005 • Robert P. George and Patrick Lee on moral standing and bad metaphors
Fall 2004 - Winter 2005
October 10, 2008 •
- Is it wrong to want a deaf baby?
- Oregon court sees frozen embryos as property rights issue.
- The hidden health risks for the children of sperm donors.
- India: It’s time we had a law on surrogacy.
- How test tube babies changed the world.
- A new, safer test for Down syndrome.
- “Human evolution is only at the beginning!”
- Incest fears down under?
- Families in the making.
October 3, 2008 •
- “Women: Have your babies yesterday.”
- Looking for cheap IVF? 13 questions and answers about medical tourism. And just how expensive is IVF anyway?
- Biologists describe how an embryo attaches to the womb.
- The Bronx is the place to be for gay families.
- Feminism or folly? Women who conceive accidentally on purpose.
- Mothers may not tell after donor egg, sperm birth.
- Having a half-sibling on the other side of Europe.
- Men without children.
September 26, 2008 •
- Pregnancy on the rise, abortion rates lowest in 30 years.
- How to stay sane with multiples.
- Designing the $100,000 baby.
- Remote control male birth control.
- Clay Aiken has a gayby.
- Israeli women are coming to the U.S. to donate eggs.
- "I've become more conservative since carrying a baby to term, but not so conservative as to assume that a ball of cells is a person."
- Teen pregnancy Barbie.
- India's global surrogacy business: "Come as Couple ... Leave as Family."
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.
September 23, 2008 •
- Australia issues its first license to clone human embryos.
- On the Today show: Looking for sperm, egg donor roots.
- An artist’s journey to 21st-century motherhood.
- Are celebrities giving IVF patients false hopes?
- “I’m a dad by deception.”
- Two healthy babies miscarried for every three Down sydrome babies detected.
- From Gene Expression: Who would abort a defective fetus?
- “I wanted a child more than a man.”
- India pulls gender selection ads on Google and Microsoft.
- Dad with cystic fibrosis beats infertility.
- Can cellphones cause infertility?
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.”
September 15, 2008 •
- Is Sarah Palin a “moral snob?” Gene Expression looks at Down syndrome and abortion rates. The New York Times reports on the birth of Trig Palin. More from the Washington Post.
- David Frum: Are designer babies the solution to the inequality problem?
- The 66 Club: Some women belong to book clubs. These women all share the same sperm donor.
- Should parents tell a donor child about his origins?
- Matthew Miller’s Maybe Baby is now out. An interview with the author.
- Are natural fertility methods better than IVF?
- “Babies are cute. Who could blame you for wanting one? And nothing can stop you. Not even time.”
- The newest Hollywood accesory: the gaybie.
- Dead men reproducing and afterdeath children.
September 2, 2008 •
- Secondary infertility: the “loneliest kind” of infertility.
- Two takes on genetic screening: “I regretted taking the test.” “For me, if I wanted another child, there was no other choice.”
- Would you go to extremes to choose the sex of your baby? Babble wants to know.
- Dara Torres: Infertility hero.
- No more Viking donors? FDA mad cow rules go into effect at sperm banks.
- Are Indian surrogates being exploited?
- Pete Shanks wants more regulation of ART in the U.S.
- Australia’s lucrative IVF industry.
- News of the weird: Brit grows marijauana to pay for IVF.
- Blinded by science: EPPC’s Yuval Levin eviscerates Diana DeGette’s Sex, Science, and Stem Cells.
- Donor-conceived children are looking for their “Y-guy.” Should they have the right to know their biological father’s identity?
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.
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.
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.