Video Text Alternative: Meet Our Researchers: Seven Challenges Couples May Face with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

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Meet Our Researchers: Challenges of using assisted reproductive technology (ART)

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GRAPHIC SLIDE: Susan Taymans, Ph.D.

Dr. Susan Taymans and Dr. Stuart Moss on camera.
Dr. Susan Taymans: First, that ART is expensive. And for most women, even younger women, it’s going to take
Dr. Taymans on camera. Dr. Taymans: more than one cycle for them to achieve a pregnancy.

The hormones that are used for ART, because they’re given in such high doses, can be dangerous to some women. And the ART success rates really are very poor for women in their 40s. If you’re 42 to 43 years old, the chances of achieving a live birth with one cycle of ART are only 5%. And by the time you’re 44, that drops down to 1%.

For these women who are using their own eggs, that’s a really
Dr. Taymans and Dr. Moss on camera. Dr. Taymans: negligible chance of achieving a live birth. So, most women in that age range who are achieving pregnancies are using donor eggs. And there are women who have
Dr. Taymans on camera. Dr. Taymans: problems with that, ethical problems, and there are women who don’t.

And if you’re fine with using donor eggs, even then, the probability of achieving a pregnancy or achieving a live birth is only about 50% for a given cycle. So it’s really much harder than most people seem to think it is. You can’t rely on it. It’s not a guarantee.
GRAPHIC SLIDE: Stuart B. Moss, Ph.D.

Dr. Taymans
and Dr. Moss on camera.
Dr. Stuart Moss: If I could just add just a little bit to that, there’s a couple of other problems. One is that if you have a defective sperm, which you then use for assisted reproductive technology, the odds are that you’re passing on that mutation
Dr. Moss on camera. Dr. Moss: that caused that sperm to be defective to the offspring. So it’s a reasonable chance that a male offspring will also have infertility issues.

And there are issues with the procedure of ART, or assisted reproductive technologies,
Dr. Taymans and Dr. Moss on camera. Dr. Moss: in that you’re taking the egg and sperm out of the natural environment. You’re culturing it under, hopefully, good conditions, but not ideal conditions, which may affect the ability of the sperm and egg to result in a healthy embryo and child.
Dr. Taymans on camera. Dr. Taymans: There’s not a whole lot of data yet, because the children who were born from ART, by now, the oldest children are only 30. And some of the conditions that we might expect to see would not hit until later adulthood.

So, there’s a good bit of concern and surveillance that are going on, although, in general, the children seem to be quite healthy and normal.
Dr. Taymans and Dr. Moss on camera. Dr. Moss: I think one of the things we need to keep in mind is that we need to keep investigating some of the aspects of assisted reproductive technologies to make them as safe as possible and to end up with viable and healthy offspring.
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