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February 21, 1996

Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness

Author Affiliations

St Paul, Minn


by Elaine Tyler May, 318 pp, with illus, $24, ISBN 0-465-00609-4, New York, NY, BasicBooks, 1995.

JAMA. 1996;275(7):566-567. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530310072039

In a current medical news release, French researchers claim that normal human embryos can be obtained by the injection of round spermatids into oocytes. Authors believe that many patients with hitherto untreatable and unexplained azoospermia will be able to benefit from this new technique of assisted fertilization.1 Thus, the new specialty of infertility continues its rapid advance since the astonishing announcement in 1978 of the birth of Baby Louise as a result of in vitro fertilization by Drs Patrick Steptoe and R. Edwards of England.2

Judging from the title of Elaine Tyler May's Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness, and the fact that her father, Dr Ed Tyler, Jr, was a prominent pioneer and leader in infertility at his Los Angeles Tyler Clinic, where he launched his specialty in the early 1950s, I expected that her book would detail the rapid and