Few recent technologies have attracted as much attention as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), a technique in which ova are fertilized in a glass dish and transferred to the prospective mother. Despite a large body of literature and much recent publicity on the ethics of new re-productive technologies, however, we are far from understanding what actually goes on in the nation's 138 in vitro fertilization centers, and even farther from possessing a clear public policy regarding this controversial technology.
In this book the author examines two different, and often opposing worlds of in vitro fertilization: the public's political, legal and ethical concerns surrounding the technique, and the personal, pragmatic world of the individual patients who come to the centers seeding a cure for infertility. The crux of this analysis revolves around the intersection, and sometimes the antagonism, between these two worlds.
While use of the centers is growing extremely fast, there is an absence of any federal-level policy to monitor this technique. To fill this vacuum, individual practioners of IVF and other new reproductive technologies.
The author investigates the current effects of these guidelines in interviews with physicians, scientists, policy makers, and patients at IVF centers, and argues that in this case, the public policy we implement should take its direction from the self-regulation that is already occurring on a local level and which is so well-developed that it has in effect taken the place of a formal federal policy. For all those interested in, or contemplating the rapidly growing field of in vitro fertilization, this is an objective analysis which answers many perplexingquestions.