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January 3, 1986

'Artificial' human reproduction poses medical, social concerns

JAMA. 1986;255(1):13-15. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370010015002

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"The drive to parenthood by infertile couples has elevated techniques of 'artificial' human reproduction from science fiction to clinical realities," says Jerome K. Sherman, MD, president of the Reproductive Council of the American Association of Tissue Banks. "These realities are limited only by human imagination."

They are also limited by various medical, ethical, psychological, and social concerns. Most of these were debated at a recent meeting of the American Fertility Society in Chicago. In particular, panelists discussed the pros and cons of artificial insemination and cryobanking, stressing concerns about anonymity, eugenics, and psychological trauma to all parties.

According to Sherman, who is also professor of anatomy, University of Arkansas Medical Center, Little Rock, infertility affects one in six American couples of reproductive age, and there are predicted increases. Options for these couples include artificial insemination with sperm donated by the husband or by another donor, in vitro fertilization, embryo transplantation,