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November 12, 1982

Human In Vitro Fertilization-Reply

JAMA. 1982;248(18):2240-2241. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330180014017

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In Reply.—  The argument of possible risk is central for the ethics of in vitro fertilization. The low success rate of implantations and the high rate of spontaneous abortions, compared with natural pregnancies, are causes for worry. Comparing children born by this method with those conceived traditionally cannot be scientifically done for some time, according to cited statistical rules. More important, this procedure experiments with future lives, and there is no way of proving it safe without such experimental risk. I argue that risk should be undertaken only for oneself or when it is unavoidable for helping human beings. We should not conceive when there is an increased chance for harm.It is true that parents have ample reason for feeling guilty. But why add to those reasons? The evidence here lies in considering oneself in place of parents with seriously ill children who were technologically conceived. If exposure to