Thursday, November 04, 2004

Interesting article: How do IVF Babies Turn Out? IVF, of course, is in vitro fertalization, where many eggs are removed from the mother, fertilized externally, and then some implanted in the womb.

Thanks to a relatively new but now common technique called ICSI, in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg, virtually any man can now become a biological father, no matter how weak or slow or scarce or chromosomally problematic his sperm. This breakthrough is, as one doctor put it, "anti-Darwinian." It allows the propagation of a sperm that would never on its own have been able to penetrate an egg. Increasingly, doctors suspect that ICSI may interfere with imprinting—the switching on and off of genes in the early days of embryonic development—possibly leading to genetic syndromes like Beckwith-Wiedemann.

If nothing else, ICSI clearly is enabling infertile men to produce infertile sons. "We're creating a whole new generation of patients," acknowledged one doctor at the conference, laughing at the irony. Well, sort of laughing.

The entire article was interesting, and scary.

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