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September 9, 1983

Stock breeding technique applied to human infertility

JAMA. 1983;250(10):1257. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340100009004

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Embryo transfer, a technique that has been used extensively to generate prize herds from single pairs of pedigreed cattle, has been successfully employed to allow two infertile women to become pregnant.

Thus reported investigators from the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif, in a lateJuly press conference called to coincide with the publication of a letter announcing their success in The Lancet (1983;ii:223).

While application of the technique in livestock breeding is directed at substantially multiplying the progeny of champion cattle by transferring as many embryos as possible from a prize heifer to other, less distinguished cows, in humans attention focuses primarily on the carrier rather than the embryo donor. In effect, it is an alternative to surrogate motherhood and in vitro fertilization.

Like surrogate motherhood, embryo transfer allows a woman who is infertile or has a genetic disorder to bear a child fathered by her husband. Another woman, acting as