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Reproductive Technology

The latest information on the legislative, ethical and medical aspects of reproductive technology.

Latest Information

Posthumously Conceived Children

Nicola Abé from Der Spiegel Online reports that about 50 children in Israel have been born from deceased persons through in vitro fertilization. While a child born posthumously is typically “defined as a child born more than nine months after a parent’s death,” the children Abé describes are born years after the death of one of their parents. In this week’s blog, Dr. Joy Riley discusses the ethical implications of this process.

How We Got Where We Are: Same-Sex Reproduction

There are many examples of issues that were once unthinkable slowly becoming somewhat accepted, then becoming ordinary and commonplace, and eventually, for many in society, becoming the new standard of normality. In this week’s blog post, Dr. Robert Cranston discusses one of these issues that uses human embryonic stem cells.

Embryo Adoption Works: Living Proof

The Point Blog | By Jeffrey Keenan, MD, Mark Mellinger | March 22, 2018

Back in December, you might have seen the media coverage of a 26-year-old woman successfully giving birth to a healthy baby girl who had spent almost 25 years as a frozen embryo. Emma Wren Gibson’s birth made global headlines. She and her parents, Benjamin and Tina, became familiar faces on newscasts and in web articles as the world learned that what once sounded like science fiction had become reality. The longest-frozen embryo to ever successfully come to birth had entered the world.

The Issues Facing Three Person Babies

On February 1, 2018, Ian Sample, the science editor at The Guardian, wrote an article entitled “UK doctors select first women to have ‘three person babies.’” Dr. Joy Riley discusses how the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA), Britain’s reproductive technologies regulatory agency, has given the go-ahead for “mitochondrial replacement therapy” and what bioethical questions this move brings up.

Reporting on IVF Incidents

In the United Kingdom, patients pay for 60 percent of the 76,000 annual in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments rendered. Britain’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the regulatory body overseeing both fertility treatment and embryo research, released in December its State of the Fertility Sector: 2016-17, a report detailing the health of the fertility sector in the UK. This report combined incident reporting with patient feedback and inspection results.

Crossing the Bright Red Line: Editing Human Beings

A team of researchers in Portland, Oregon recently became the first to attempt to create genetically modified human embryos. Dr. Joy Riley discusses how this work by is germline engineering and crosses a line that heretofore has been a bright red line. 

Christian Doctor's Digest - August 2017

Christian Doctor's Digest | July 26, 2017

In this edition of Christian Doctor's Digest, Dr. David Stevens interviews Dr. Jim Garlow about his new book, Dr. Jeff Keenan about the latest news from the National Embryo Donation Center and Casey Mattox on right of conscience.

Life—Artificial or Natural?

The Point Blog | By David Prentice, PhD | July 13, 2017

There continue to be reports of new attempts to create life, sometimes labeled “synthetic” or “artificial” because the entity is not created the old-fashioned way. But is the manner in which a life begins the most important factor in how we regard that life? So if we label a life as “artificial,” is this also a way to devalue that life? Dr. David Prentice answers these questions in this week’s blog post.

Applying Pressure to the 14-Day Rule

Conducting research on embryos beyond 14 days’ gestation is against the law in 12 countries, including the United Kingdom; the U.S. has only “guidelines” recommending the 14-day limit. Now researchers and others are pushing against that limit. They find it too confining. Where did this rule/guideline originate? 

In this week’s blog, Dr. D. Joy Riley gives the history of the 14-day rule, how technology is changing the guideline and why this matters.

Artificial Wombs and Modern Incubators

The Point Blog | By David Prentice, PhD | May 11, 2017

Scientists at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia published their work on development of an artificial womb, testing the functionality with pre-term lambs. The simple design, utilizing a biobag as the sterile enclosure, coupled with several advances in linking circulatory system and facilitating oxygenation, give this new artificial womb the potential for successful gestation of pre-term infants.

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