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Reproduction revolution: Sex for fun, IVF for children

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Saturday, March 18, 2017 | 0 comments


In the science fiction movie Gattaca, the hero, Vincent, is an In-Valid - someone whose only crime is to be conceived in a moment of passion rather than in a Petri dish.

His brother, by contrast, is a Valid, created by a process designed to ensure the optimum recombination of his parents' genes. In-Valids are condemned to a life of menial jobs and discrimination. To realize his dream of becoming an astronaut, Vincent has to buy a Valid's identity.

It's a scenario that is difficult to imagine from today's viewpoint. Yet could we be moving towards an age in which entering nature's genetic lottery is no longer seen as a desirable way to bring a child into the world? Might natural conception even come to be thought of as irresponsible, as bad as smoking while pregnant?

Reproducing the traditional way is undoubtedly flawed. Worldwide around 1 child in 16 is born with a mental or physical disability due to a genetic defect, and most of us probably carry gene variants that predispose us to serious illnesses later in life. How much safer it would be to go along to the fertility clinic, have some embryos created and pick the one or two that will produce the healthiest baby.

IVF has become commonplace, and top clinics boast pregnancy rates of more than 30 per cent for each cycle - better than the 1 in 4 chance of conceiving the natural way and likely to improve further. Until recently, though, IVF was only for those with fertility problems. The rapid development of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is starting to change this.

Increasing numbers of fertile couples with a family history of a serious disease such as cystic fibrosis are opting for IVF with PGD so they can be sure any child will not inherit it. Others are resorting to IVF-PGD so they can choose their child's most basic characteristic: sex.

Women who freeze their eggs to ensure they can have children later in life (see Methuselah moms) may soon swell the ranks even further. Could IVF-PGD one day become the preferred method of conception?

Full article: NewScientist.com





TODAY'S BOOK SUGGESTION:
Image: Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility, by Sami S. David and Jill Blakeway. Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (August 12, 2009)Making Babies:
A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility

by Sami S. David and Jill Blakeway

-- MAKING BABIES offers a proven 3-month program designed to help any woman get pregnant. Fertility medicine today is all about aggressive surgical, chemical, and technological intervention, but Dr. David and Blakeway know a better way.

Starting by identifying "fertility types," they cover everything from recognizing the causes of fertility problems to making lifestyle choices that enhance fertility to trying surprising strategies such as taking cough medicine, decreasing doses of fertility drugs, or getting acupuncture along with IVF.

MAKING BABIES is a must-have for every woman trying to conceive, whether naturally or through medical intervention. Dr. David and Blakeway are revolutionizing the fertility field, one baby at a time.


Image: Buy Now on Amazon.comPaperback: 384 pages
Click to order/for more info: Making Babies
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Catherine

About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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