Friday, May 26, 2006

Placenta Previa risks for IVF pregnancies

A study from Norway has found that women who have IVF treatment are six times more likely to suffer a potentially dangerous condition (placenta praevia) during pregnancy than those who conceive naturally.

Interestingly there was also a finding that there is "a threefold risk among mothers who had given birth twice, once conceiving naturally and once IVF, or ICSI, in which a sperm is injected directly into an egg."

Read more in the Australian newspaper

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"Designer babies" in the news

Over the last week there have been several newspaper stories, mainly from the UK, about "designer babies".

The Sun (UK) proclaims its sensational headline Designer tot is world first. On closer examination we learn that the couple in question screened their embryos to produce a baby free from a hereditary illness that has inflicted their first child.

Even The Times (UK) published an article entitled First baby in Britain designed cancer free about a couple who have again used PGD to screen their embryos for a form of eye cancer.

The use of the words "design" and "designer" evokes images of people using these technologies to screen embryos not only for disease but for positive attributes such as intelligence and preferred hair or eye colour. It is this Gattaca like image that fuels debates over the ethics of using PGD to screen embryos.

Dr Alan Thornhill, Scientific Director, London Fertility Centre and Honorary Lecturer, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College London via Bionews has a more realistic view:

"To get the desired combination of high intelligence alleles in just one baby, more than 5000 embryos would need to be tested. It would take a woman 40 years of continuous IVF with PGD to achieve this. In short, 'designing' babies using PGD is a non-starter."

Monday, May 08, 2006

Folic acid link to multiple births

Increasing dietary intake of folic acid could result in more women giving birth to twins after IVF treatment, UK researchers report.

Read more ...

Encouraging openess in egg donor families

Encouraging openness in gamete donation families from BioNews

A report on a study about donor families.

Woman in her 60s pregnant after IVF

There have been a lot of news stories this week about a 63 year old woman who is now 7 months pregnant after IVF treatment. Debates have centred around ethical issues:

Briton in her 60s pregnant after IVF from 'clone' medic from The Scotsman

'Oldest mum': We have thought this through from The Daily Mail

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Baby Envy. Dealing with Infertility

Baby Envy. Dealing with Infertility

A rare article about the psychological effects of infertility. Several women talk of the strain that infertility has placed on friendhships with fertile friends.