Liza Mundy went to the American Society For Reproductive Medicine conference last week in Philadelphia, and all she got was a bunch of unanswered questions about how IVF kids turn out. And a sperm-shaped pen.
Despite phenomenal growth over a quarter century of in-vitro fertilization--over 40,000 IVF babies were born in the US in 2001--Mundy says there are still too many under-researched scientific, developmental, health, and genetic issues.
Besides the big questions of long-term health, cognition, etc., the "uncle with the stinky cigar" in the IVF world is multiple births. To increase probability of success, US doctors regularly implant three or more embryos. One result: 1/3 of IVF births are multiples, and over half of IVF kids are multiples.
Another controversial topic: infertile men. New single-sperm-injection techniques mean even the most infertile guy with the weakest sperm ever can now father a child. It's positively "anti-Darwinian," says one doctor [who'll happily take that cup from you and cash that check anyway.]
How Do IVF Babies Turn Out? [Slate]