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Reproductive Technology

Like most areas of science, reproductive technology has advanced with leaps and bounds in recent decades. Things that were barely imaginable in the past, like in-vitro fertilization (IVF), are now seen as everyday occurrences. Even the most common forms of contraception in use today were not developed until the twentieth century. Reproductive technology has given women and their partners much more control over how many children they have and when those children are conceived.

There are many different types of fertility treatments available to couples who have difficulty conceiving. The first thing that most people try is fertility drugs, because they are relatively inexpensive and noninvasive. The most popular ones are Clomid, Femara, and Gonadotropins (FSH, LH, and hCG). Surgery is often used to resolve anatomical problems in women. Another option is artificial insemination, in which a sperm is implanted in the uterus in the hope that it will fertilize properly with an egg.

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IVF is another common fertility treatment. Eggs and sperm are taken from the couple (or a donor) and combined in a laboratory. The eggs are removed with a needle while the woman is under local anesthesia. If an embryo forms in the lab, it is placed in the woman’s uterus a few days later. The embryo transfer is done through the cervix. Like many other types of fertility treatments, multiple embryos are usually implanted. This is done because the procedures are very expensive, and multiple embryos offer a higher chance of having a successful pregnancy.

Infertility: In Vitro Fertilization from the American Pregnancy Association

In Vitro Fertilization on eMedicineHealth

IVF Connections A community for support and information

Cloning, in terms of human reproduction, means creating a person who has the exact same DNA as someone else. This has never happened before, though groups of scientists are reportedly working to make it a reality. The ethical issues surrounding cloning are heavily debated. A lot of people, including many experts, believe this is an area of reproductive technology that should not be developed further. It is illegal in many countries around the world. Another area of human cloning involves growing human tissues and organs from embryonic stem cells to be used for transplants.

Cloning Fact Sheet By the U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program

Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning Articles by the American Medical Association

Cloning: How It Works An interactive guide

Genetic Encores: The Ethics of Human Cloning

Cloning FAQs and Fiction Cloning Facts on MedicineNet

Contraception, commonly called birth control, is any method that is used to lower the chances of a sperm fertilizing an egg. Reproductive technology includes many different types of contraception, such as condoms, spermicide, birth control bills, injections, patches, the ring, and implants. Emergency contraception can be used soon after intercourse to reduce the chances of pregnancy.

Information about many contraception methods

Birth Control – National Institute of Health

The Emergency Contraception Website – Princeton

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Further Reading