In Defense of In Vitro Fertilization

  • Barbara Menning
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Biomedicine, Ethics, and Society book series (CIBES)


It is important to understand the magnitude of the problem of infertility. It is estimated that 10 million Americans are currently infertile. Of that number, one third have problems related to the woman and one third of those are problems relating to the Fallopian tubes. The Fallopian tubes of the woman might be described as the most vulnerable point in her reproductive system. Even the slightest inflammation or infection in this area may result in partial or complete blockage owing to scarring and adhesions, or may cause damage to the cilia that transport the ovum or to the biochemical secretions so vital to fertilization. Although modern surgical techniques and microsurgery have improved the success of surgical repair of the Fallopian tubes, this is still successful only 30% of the time. This means, of the 1 million women who have serious tubal disease, 700,000 cannot be helped to become pregnant by this means, at this time. I will first comment on in vitro fertilization (IVF), in terms of who decides, screening of candidates, risk, and the issue of technological remedies for technologically related infertility. I will then discuss the general matter of infertility in more personal terms.


Fallopian Tube Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Infertile Woman Infertile Couple Tubal Disease 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Menning

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