'Baby-making': What the new reproductive treatments mean for families and society

March 16th, 2012
In Vitro Fertilization [IVF] and the related technologies of assisted reproduction are no longer experimental procedures. In some European countries as many as 4% of all babies born are conceived by IVF, and in every kindergarten classroom there will no doubt be at least one IVF child. Assisted reproduction is the solution to today's epidemic of infertility. BABY-MAKING: What the New Reproductive Treatments Mean for Families and Society by Bart Fauser and Paul Devroey (Oxford | March 15, 2012), describes the many fertility techniques now used to help infertile couples have a baby.

In BABY-MAKING two of the world's leading authorities present a detailed and readable account of assisted reproduction, describing how this technique is applied to help infertile couples have a baby. Fauser and Devroey describe the latest technologies, placing them in their scientific and clinical settings, outlining such procedures as IVF, sperm injection techniques, egg donation, fertility preservation, single embryo transfer, and reproductive surgery. Fauser and Devroey also discuss fertility treatments in patients who are not infertile (such as single women or lesbians). One of the great controversies swirling around assisted reproduction is the furor over "designer babies" (manipulating genetic material to produce babies with blue eyes or a high IQ, or of a particular sex), but the authors contend that the only acceptable aim in "designing" a baby is to insure a safe pregnancy and delivery. BABY-MAKING also reveals that a key challenge of fertility research is to perfect a treatment that avoids multiple pregnancy, a trend that has blighted IVF throughout its thirty-year history. Fauser and Devroey also discuss the issue of increasing age-related infertility ("the infertility epidemic") and the possible use of IVF to meet this challenge and improve birth rates. The final chapter looks to the future and proposes that the limits to assisted reproduction will be set more by ethical considerations than by scientific progress.

Topics for discussion include:

A new, responsible definition of 'designer babies'
The science-based claim that multiple pregnancy is the scourge of IVF—twins are not the ideal outcome
Embryo selection explained: pre-implantation genetic diagnosis [PGD] is not intended to guarantee eye color or selected gender
The perils of delayed parenthood
Considers the wider social questions about fertility treatment; can fertility treatment be promoted as a population policy in countries with a critically declining birth rate? Should embryo research be controlled by law? Are governments better equipped to regulate treatment than doctors?

Provided by Oxford University Press

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