How making babies is being transformed by science | The Economist

How making babies is being transformed by science  | The Economist


Science is changing how
and when families are made Women are going to be able
to have both career and family… …in a way that we’ve
never seen before New technologies are
transforming IVF success rates AI allows us to look at
features of the embryo… …invisible to the human eye And families are growing up I tell them,
“No, I’m not the grandmother”… …“I’m the mother”… …and they go,
“You’re the mother!” My name is Dawn Hallett I’m 65 years old and I’m the mother of Audree Evelyn Anne Hallett Audree is one year old Dawn and her husband, Mike, who is 66… …are proud first-time parents in Nova Scotia, Canada They married in 1977 and tried for a baby for decades When we were in our early 30s… …we discussed about having a family and then we went for testing… …and we found out that our chances were very slim 10% 10% chance that we could have a child of our own Attempts to conceive naturally and to adopt failed So five years ago Dawn turned to IVF and donor eggs for help I went to our local clinic and they said I was too old… …that they wouldn’t work with us In Canada, as in America, industry guidelines discourage… …embryo transfers to women over 55… …who face a higher risk of prenatal health conditions… …including pre-eclampsia, hypertension and diabetes Dawn considered surrogacy She looked abroad to developing countries… …with less restrictive guidelines and legislation The first place we went to, India… …our surrogate was sitting in her doctor’s office… …and India closed their doors to international surrogacy We flew to Mexico City and we tried three times there… …with a surrogate and my husband and she failed three times International fertility consultant, Crystal Travis… …directed the couple towards Georgia… …one of the world’s least regulated fertility markets… …and one of the few countries that allows surrogates… …and donors of eggs and embryos to be paid I felt that I was healthy enough that I could carry a baby if needed to… …because I exercised my whole life After medical tests, Dawn had an embryo made… …with a donor egg and donor sperm implanted I said to Mike I said, “I just don’t believe that it’s going to work” Anyway, so on the 23rd of December when we got to… On the 23rd of December when we… …I went over to the drugstore and got the got the actual… …the pregnancy test, yes I’m the technical guy So I did the dipping and basically I came down and said… …‘‘by the way you’re two to three weeks pregnant” And at that point we were just like I was shocked, I was shocked You know, this is a miracle The total number of fertility clinics around the world… …is estimated to have increased by almost 70% in the last ten years The value of the global fertility industry is predicted to rise from… …$25bn today, to $41bn by 2026 Many believe there needs to be more regulation… …of an increasingly globalised IVF trade… …including Dr Danielle Lane, a fertility specialist based in San Francisco I think that the risks far outweigh the benefits of being pregnant at 65 We do not do embryo transfers on anyone who is above the age of 50 However, Dr Lane is using new technology… …that will allow more women to have children later in life We are definitely seeing an increase in egg-freezing So, clearly the trend is that women are delaying their childbearing In 2017 the number of women freezing their own eggs in America… …jumped by nearly a quarter in one year alone Dr Lane believes this will help some women… …balance their careers and families more effectively in the future Now we’re saying you can have that child at 40 using your 28-year-old eggs So maybe it matters that you spend those extra ten years… …focused on your career and get to a point where… …you feel comfortable having that baby at 40 There is another technological development that might… …accelerate this trend towards older parents Today Dr Michelle Perugini is unveiling a new… …artificial-intelligence application at the Lane Fertility Institute Embryo assessment is currently done by an embryologist… …sitting in front of a microscope What we do is take microscope images, directly drag and drop them… …onto our system and the AI runs over those images and produces… …an instantaneous confidence score The application is designed to improve the chances of selecting… …embryos that will lead to successful pregnancies Our data show that we’re 30% more accurate in terms of… …being able to predict the pregnancy outcome That’s really amazing This application is awaiting regulatory approval in America If it delivers on its promise, it could help make IVF more accessible Is there a way that the application of this AI… …will actually make IVF more affordable? If we can get patients pregnant quicker or in fewer cycles… …by virtue of picking the best embryo then it will be cheaper overall As the science grows, so will the opportunities… …for more would-be parents to start families later than ever before There will always be decisions to be made about career and family But the ability to plan them out is… …so much better now than it was even a decade ago

35 Replies to “How making babies is being transformed by science | The Economist”

  1. This is wonderful. All of us have extraordinarily different circumstances. The way my life is going (the wrong / bad guys are attracted to me, it's rough getting through college on my own, I was raised inappropriately in some ways that didn't prepare for anything in my own country) … marriage my not happen for me by age 30, 40 or even 50. It's wonderful to see this b/c I do want to be a wife and mother❤

  2. This world is over populated and Cud do with less births.
    Adopting makes more sense. As does forcing densely populated countries like India pakistan Banglades Nepal Indonesia Malaysia Nigeria as well as other Asian and African to drastically reduce population.
    China doesn't fall in the list cos it's already corrected in trajectory.

  3. A lot of people celebrates this as a scientific innovation, while in real life it is strongly motivated by monetary interests of the physicians. In Europe, it is another way of slowing the population ageing next to supporting single parenting. The question is do you want to be born to a 60 year old parents, who have a life expectancy of 20 years on average?

  4. disgusting piece of propaganda mr. Rothstein
    Europeans are falling behind because we listen to this. It needs to stop

  5. It is Fantastic!!.. – Brings hope and joy of being parants to more people – It is true kind miracle came into our world..
    Medical scientists are the new.. Magicians 👏👏👏👏💐💕💗🌈🌱✨🙏

  6. A lot of these babies end up in NICUs either born prematurely or with congenital problems due to genetic manipulation. It winds up costing the taxpayers millions of dollars for their survival.

  7. If your parents are both well into their sixties when you’re born, are they really up to the demands of child rearing?

  8. Enjoyed in the young age and forget about the motherhood and thought of it at the age of ready to die😂😂😂 how funny😂😂😂

  9. Artificial wombs will replace pregnancies. The babies will grow up in a plastic bag for nine months. The mother doesn't have to carry another human around anymore, and can focus on her job. There will also be no more painful and dangerous births.

  10. If you're fit to become president at 78, I don't see a problem with healthy people in their 60s to fulfill their desire to have children.
    I'm happy for them.

  11. there are horrible person that will leave their children at 16 year to pass their time cleaning their feces and spend hours every attending their health. They just buyed little slaves to take care of them.

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