May 28, 2009
Assisted Reproductive Technology Usage Up 25% In 2 Years

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other biotechnologies for starting pregnancies are growing at over 25% per year.

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is responsible for an estimated 219,000 to 246,000 babies born each year worldwide according to an international study. The study also finds that the number of ART procedures is growing steadily: in just two years (from 2000 to 2002) ART activity increased by more than 25%.

The study, which is published online today (Thursday 28 May) in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction [1], gives figures and estimates for the year 2002, the most recent year for which world figures are available. A total of 1563 clinics in 53 countries provided data for the report, but data were missing from several other countries, mostly in Asia, Africa, Oceania and the West Indies. The authors estimated that these missing countries probably performed between 10-20% of ART procedures, and they took this into account when they calculated the total number of ART babies born worldwide.

So far the use of ART is mainly used by people who can't otherwise start a pregnancy. However, advances in genetic testing tech will eventually make ART far more mainstream. When it becomes possible to use genetic testing to choose features for offspring I predict that egg fertilization in laboratories will become the preferred way for upper classes to start pregnancies. The ability to choose embryos based on criteria like intelligence, personality, health and physical attractiveness will make old fashion sex obsolete for making babies.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 May 28 12:07 AM  Biotech Reproduction


Comments
mabirch said at May 28, 2009 9:58 AM:

You said "The ability to choose embryos based on criteria like intelligence, personality, health and physical attractiveness will make old fashion sex obsolete for making babies."

One of the assumptions behind this statement that has yet to be proven in any sort of way is that all of those characteristics are entirely based in genetics. This is, again, an assertion of materialistic determinism.

placebo said at May 28, 2009 3:41 PM:

Should the title of this posting be "Assisted Reproductive Technology Usage Up 12.5% Per Year" based on the fact that ART increased by 25% over 2 years?

DJ said at May 28, 2009 4:22 PM:

You said "One of the assumptions behind this statement that has yet to be proven in any sort of way is that all of those characteristics are entirely based in genetics."

One assumption behind this statement is that Randall said something he did not say. That these characteristics are "entirely based in genetics." Obviously no one thinks this, and just as obviously all of these traits are heavily influenced by genetics.

Randall Parker said at May 28, 2009 6:14 PM:

placebo,

Oops! Thanks, I fixed the title.

mabirch,

Like strawmen much?

DJ,

People who do not like genetic influences (how dare genes limit what we can do) also do not like to be reminded in any way of the power of genes. I try to make my peace with the physical laws governing the universe. Near as I can tell thinking solipsistic thoughts doesn't seem to make the universe any different.

Kenneth T.Kendrick said at May 28, 2009 6:29 PM:

The growth rate will probably accelerate due to better and less expensive techniques and ivf becoming part of the culture.At a growth rate of 12.5% per year in fifty years every woman of childbearing age in the world will be using ivf.The ivf singularity.Access to ivf should be a basic human right.It should be financed by the government.

mabirch said at May 28, 2009 6:49 PM:

Randall Parker,

No, a straw man argument is a logical fallacy that misrepresents the position of the opponent and then attacks that misrepresentation as though it was the original position.

To quote more extensively, you said "However, advances in genetic testing tech will eventually make ART far more mainstream. When it becomes possible to use genetic testing to choose features for offspring I predict that egg fertilization in laboratories will become the preferred way for upper classes to start pregnancies. The ability to choose embryos based on criteria like intelligence, personality, health and physical attractiveness will make old fashion sex obsolete for making babies."

If genetic testing can identify the features, and genetic manipulation or even simply screening from the available possibilities can predictably cause the desired features to exist in the child, then those features are not merely influenced by the genes, the genes are asserted to be causative.

Having said that, I will admit that DJ is correct in saying that my use of the word "entire" was stretching the point. Health, appearance, and intelligence are influenced by genetics. The concept that all that is required to 'design' a person is sufficiently detailed genetic knowledge is a purely materialist assertion that is very easy to read into your statement.

My more complete point is that you regularly assert a purely materialist point of view. When challenged on that point, you resort to name calling and snarkiness. Name calling (solipsist) is also a technique to distract the discussion from an opponent's point every bit as much as a straw man attack would be. While you can assert that you 'try to make by peace with the physical laws governing the universe' you seem to imply that if your readers have concerns and points that don't acknowledge your pre-suppositions as correct that they are unintelligent or ignorant.

Randall Parker said at May 28, 2009 8:05 PM:

mabirch,

You did misrepresent my position. Your use of the word "entire" misrepresents my position. You then even say yourself "Health, appearance, and intelligence are influenced by genetics.". If you are going to challenge me on my materialist point of view try being accurate about it. I detest sloppy lazy misrepresentations of my views.

If you want to debate genetic causes of human features be aware that there's a large research literature and I read the scientific reports and question social and biological scientists about their findings. Simply asserting a straw man and then telling me I'm wrong deserves a snarky response.

As for genes asserted to be causative: Do genes cause Downs Syndrome? Or does an extra copy of a certain chromosome somehow influence but not cause Downs?

In fact, some genetic variations really do totally cause exactly some personality characteristics, intelligence differences, and physical features. While other genetic variations contribute to the odds of having some characteristics while themselves not totally causing those characteristics by themselves. Other influences (possibly other genes) have to line up to cause certain outcomes.

I can get a lot more detailed. I know, for example, that most personality characteristics appear to be about half caused (on average) by genes. This comes from twins studies, adoption studies, and other studies. But that does not mean the half genetic contribution is true for every characteristic and every individual. Some genetic variations powerfully predispose for depression, violence, and other mental states and behaviors. For example, a well studied Dutch family's men are highly violent due to a point mutation on monoamine oxidase A (MAOA).

You can also find lots of other examples of specific genes causing behaviors and abilities differencs in my archives.

kurt9 said at May 28, 2009 11:05 PM:

What is materialistic determinism?

Also, what is materialism?

Post a comment
Comments:
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
URL:
Remember info?

                       
Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright