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Assisted Reproductive Technologies

In 1978, the first “test-tube” baby, Louise Brown, was born in the United Kingdom. For the first time, a human life had been created in the laboratory. The mother’s egg was fertilized by the father’s sperm in a Petri dish, and the embryo that was to become Louise was transferred to her mother’s womb. Louise entered the world on July 25, 1978, to a fanfare from the world’s media. It was, said Time magazine, “The most awaited birth in perhaps 2,000 years.” In the years since Louise Brown’s birth, more than 5 million IVF (in vitro fertilization) babies have been born worldwide.

Although IVF has received the greatest public attention, assisted reproduction involving reproductive donation—that is, the donation of gametes (sperm or eggs) or embryos or ...

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