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Eighteen Ways to Make a Baby

Program Overview


Advances in reproductive technology have enabled doctors and prospective parents to explore many new methods of conception. NOVA examines infertility treatments that push the limits of biology.

The program:

  • introduces the technique of in vitro fertilization (IVF), a significant breakthrough in 1978 that is now a mainstream treatment.

  • presents the challenges of infertility: One in six couples struggles with infertility issues, with the odds of conceiving against them.

  • notes that infertility treatments are painful and emotionally draining, and there is an increased chance of multiple pregnancies, which can result in premature birth and a risk of disabilities.

  • illustrates the process of micro-manipulation, which allows doctors to select and inject sperm into eggs, and to perform microscopic procedures on developing embryos.

  • describes advances in egg donation, the transfer of parts of donor eggs, and sperm sorting to increase the odds of having a child of a specified gender.

  • raises ethical questions about the implications of reproductive technology.

Teacher's Guide
Eighteen Ways to Make a Baby
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