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Feminist Analysis Of In Vitro Fertilization .

2791 words - 11 pages

In Vitro FertilizationIntroductionIn vitro fertilization was originally developed to enable women whose fallopian tubes are blocked to bear children because IVF procedures bypass the tubes. A woman's ovaries are stimulated with strong fertility drugs to produce multiple eggs, which are surgically removed. Her partner or donor then produces a sperm sample and the eggs and sperm are combined in a glass dish. If fertilization occurs, the resulting human embryos are inserted into the woman's uterus. If they implant in the uterine wall, a pregnancy will begin. The woman will give birth nine months later if she does not miscarry. (Morales, et al, p.2)A single IVF attempt lasts about three weeks. It involves surgery, plus repeated ultrasonography and blood drawing. The fertility drugs that are essential to the procedure can produce very dangerous side effects. IVF is also emotionally stressful, since it may fail at any point in the procedure. (Morales, et al, p.2)The hormonal treatments used in IVF vary from clinic to clinic. Some use Lupron injections to suppress the woman's ovaries. After this initial procedure, hyperstimulation drugs are given. These injections are done both at home and at the clinic. These drugs produce great side effects for the mother. "During these injections, I did experience side effects. I was moody and sometimes I was nauseous and I was very stressed." (Mason, 2003, p.2)History of DevelopmentIn vitro "in glass" fertilization began in Great Britain in the 1970's with Robert Edwards, a Ph.D. physiologist and Patrick Steptoe, a gynecologist. In the 1960's, Dr. Edwards experimented with human ovaries removed at surgery. In 1967, he was the first to fertilize a human egg outside of the body. At the same time, Steptoe was developing a technique called laparoscopy. The two men joined in 1971 and began using laparoscopy on volunteers. In 1976, they attempted their first pregnancy. This first attempt ended in an ectopic pregnancy, but they achieved success in 1978 with the birth of Louise Brown. (AFAMG, 2000, p.1)Patients originally treated by Edwards and Steptoe were not given fertility drugs. They were monitored around the clock, and when ovulation started, a laparoscopy was preformed to retrieve the single egg. This was not always successful. Steptoe and Edwards discovered a medical team in Australia that was using fertility drugs on their patients to be able to retrieve more than one egg. Their success rate was 5%. Steptoe and Edwards integrated this approach with their technique. (AFAMG, 2000 p.1)In the 1980's IVF success rates reached 20-25% for women under 40. A vaginal ultrasound probe was used instead of laparoscopy, fertility drugs were refined and improvements in embryology culturing techniques were made. (AFAMG, 2000, p.1)In the 1990's, many improvements were made, such as treatment protocols for women older than 40 and development of ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). ICSI is used for achieving fertilization by...

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