Friday, June 22, 2007

PGD does not increase birth defects

According to the results of a study released at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics, the number of malformations in babies born from embryos subjected to preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is no higher than IVF without PGD. Professor Ingeborg Liebaers, from the Research Centre for Reproductive Genetics, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium, says that the results of her study of 583 children born after PGD was reassuring.

There has been some concern that the additional handling of the embryo during PGD when a cell is extracted for testing might lead to an increase in complications. The conclusions of this study, the first large study done at one fertility center, indicate that is not the case. There are plans for further studies at other centers.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Very good animation explains ART

In my previous post I mentioned an article at MSNBC. The webpage with that article is packed full of all kinds of other information and links about fertility and IVF. One of them is this animation explaining assisted reproductive technology. Very nicely done and worth a visit.


MSNBC story on IVF tourism

Not only has medical tourism gone prime time but "IVF tourism" is coming of age as well. has a story on the phenomenon. A couple of cases are covered of women who went abroad for IVF, one to South Africa, another to the Czech Republic. Their stories are interesting.

One of the women is a 44 year old from Massachusetts who learned it would cost her and her husband around $30,000 out of pocket for IVF at a center near their home. Their research led them to a clinic in the Czech Republic that treats around 10 American women per month. After satisfying themselves about the clinic's qualifications and track record they went for it. Total cost was $12,500 including donor eggs, all drugs and treatment, airfare and lodging for two. She is now pregnant and expecting in January.

As usual in an effort to "give both sides" in the story we get to hear a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doub) slung around by western doctors. They warn about inaccurate reporting of success rates, potential issues concerning recruiting of donors, questions about the standards of the clinics, etc. The article even said there was " reported case of a Romanian clinic recruiting illiterate donors and failing to take appropriate measures to make sure that those donors were giving fully informed consent." Really? One reported case. Oh my.

Certainly all these things are concerns and should be thoroughly investigated even in your home country. A note to the authors of these kind of articles. How about interviewing some doctors at the overseas centers you are writing about. And checking into government regulations in those countries, how success rates are reported and monitored, etc. That kind of information would be much more valuable than the FUD we hear from the western medical community who are often uninformed about what is happening in the rest of the world.

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