Assisted Reproductive Options
Problems with infertility and gay and lesbian couples’ desire to parent have given rise to artificial means of conception. Reproductive technologies that have been developed in the last few years enable some couples to have children even when one of them is infertile or they are the same gender. These technologies, although exciting, may also contribute to the further anguish and stress for the couple, particularly if the methods fail.
Timeline: The History of Assisted Reproduction
Progesterone is discovered by scientist who goes on to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Many of these options are very time consuming and expensive (see Table 12.2), and they do not guarantee success.
There has been a tremendous increase in the number of babies born through assisted reproduction. In fact, in 2002 a total of 45,751 babies resulted from reproductive technologies, which was a 120% increase over the 20,840 that were born in 1996 (Assisted Reproductive Technology, 2002). Many technologies are available to the couples, although deciding which treatment to use depends on factors such as the duration of infertility, a woman’s age, and chances of conceiving without treatment. We will explore these options in more detail shortly.
As assisted reproductive procedures have become more common, many ethical and legal issues have also emerged (see Sex in Real Life, “Ethical, Legal, and Moral Issues Involved in Reproductive Technology”). In addition, infants born through assisted reproductive techniques have been found to have lower birth weights and increased prematurity (Kelly-Vance et al., 2004). There is also evidence that pregnancies achieved through assisted reproductive techniques are more at risk for miscarriage (Wang et al.,