External human fertilization: an evaluation of policy

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Science  14 Oct 1983:
Vol. 222, Issue 4620, pp. 127-133
DOI: 10.1126/science.6623063

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In vitro fertilization, in its first 5 years of use, has met minimum standards for efficacy and safety, as judged by published clinical reports. It is becoming more widely available as an approach for overcoming sterility in married couples and appears also to be gaining social acceptance in that context. Several technical options presented by the procedure, particularly storage of frozen embryos and embryo transfers involving third-party contributions, are less fully evaluated clinically and raise social, ethical, and legal questions that go beyond the original medical model for therapeutic intervention. The clinical success of in vitro fertilization and the options it affords call for careful policy consideration. Estimates of costs and of potential demand for and supply of services are provided and the current status of relevant policy in the United States and abroad is discussed.