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In Vitro Fertilization: A More Optimistic Model in Assisted Reproductive Technology

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In Vitro Fertilization: A More Optimistic Model in Assisted Reproductive Technology

in vitro fertilization processIt has been 32 years since the birth of Louise Brown, the first baby conceived through in vitro fertilization. Robert Edwards, the British biologist who was once reviled for fertilizing a human egg outside the mother’s womb, was vindicated after being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on October 4, 2010.

In The Opinion Pages of The New York Times website, author Robin Marantz Henig writes:

In Vitro Revelation

“The history of in vitro fertilization demonstrates not only how easily the public will accept new technology once it’s demonstrated to be safe, but also that the nightmares predicted during its development almost never come true. This is a lesson to keep in mind as we debate whether to pursue other promising yet controversial medical advances, from genetic engineering to human cloning. “
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/opinion/05Henig.html?ref=artificialinsemination

While in vitro fertilization has become pretty much mainstream today, it was considered taboo in 1978, the year when the first test tube baby was born. Scientist suspected that creating a human being in a petri dish can can cause some form of terrible chromosomal aberration. Louise Brown can be born with serious birth defects that can turn her into a monstrosity.

 

“Fortunately, Louise Brown was not born a monster, but rather a healthy, 5-pound, 12-ounce blond baby girl. She had no birth defects at all, and suddenly her existence seemed to demonstrate only that there was nothing to fear about I.V.F. The birth of the “baby of the century” paved the way for a happy ending for millions of infertile couples — nearly four million babies worldwide have been conceived with the procedure.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/opinion/05Henig.html?ref=artificialinsemination

 

In vitro fertilization, while safe, still carries a lot of risks. Already, gay couples and single women are taking advantage of the technology. It has also opened portals to new and controversial concepts like fake womb, baby farms, designer babies, choosing a baby’s sex, and, finally, human cloning.

 

“As Dr. Edwards himself noted in the early 1970s, just because a technology can be abused doesn’t mean it will be. Electricity is a good thing, he said, regardless of its leading to the invention of the electric chair. “
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/opinion/05Henig.html?ref=artificialinsemination

 

While man has a tendency to abuse every new technology, I.V.F. appears to be a more optimistic model that can help us find ways to improve quality of life.

To understand in vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive technology, visit SPERM.org for more information.

 

 

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