UK government proposes regulations on making ‘three-parent embryos’

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Technique lets children avoid inheriting certain diseases – and give them genes from another woman besides mom.

Last week, the U.K. government issued proposed regulations that would allow researchers to try a new and controversial in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure in patients. The technique could allow women who are carriers of mitochondrial disease to have healthy, genetically related children. But it also transfers DNA from one egg or embryo into another, a form of genetic alteration that could be passed on to future generations. Altering the genes of human egg cells or embryos in IVF procedures is now forbidden in the United Kingdom.

 

 

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Four women with transplanted wombs are trying to get pregnant with IVF

pregnant woman

Doctors successfully transplanted wombs into nine women.

Four women who underwent womb transplants have received embryos in an attempt to get pregnant, according to Swedish doctors. The women are the recipients of wombs from their mothers or other relatives, as part of an experiment to see whether a womb transplant can yield a successful pregnancy. The embryos are the result of in vitro fertilization before the women had their transplants.

 

 

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Record number of test tube babies born in the U.S.

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The growing percentage reflects, in part, the increasing average age at which women give birth for the first time.

In 2012, more test-tube babies were born in the United States than ever before, and they constituted a higher percentage of total births than at any time since the technology was introduced in the 1980s, according to a report released on Monday.

 

 

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Altering DNA to produce a genetically-modified human could begin in 2014

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In vitro fertilization (IVF)—involving DNA from three parents—could become legal in the UK by July.

The prospect of altering DNA to produce a genetically-modified human could move from science fiction to science reality by the middle of 2014.  The UK parliament is likely to vote on whether a new form of in vitro fertilization (IVF)—involving DNA from three parents—becomes legally available to couples by July. If it passes, the law would be the first to allow pre-birth human-DNA modification, and another door to the future will open.

 

 

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How a breast milk antibody plays an important role in infant gut development

breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is an important strategy to ensure a healthy balance of good bacteria in an infant’s gut.

 Babies have legions of microbes that set up shop in their guts, skin, and more right from birth. These microbes are vital. They help the growing human to digest its food, and to keep harmful microbes away. They are so important that newborns temporarily suppress their own immune system to give their microbial partners a chance to establish themselves.

 

 

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Palestinian prisoners smuggle sperm out of jail

Suhad Abu Fiad gets a prenatal ultrasound at a clinic in the West Bank city of Nablus.

During a routine sonogram, Suhad Abu Fiad immediately tears up at the sight of her unborn baby’s tiny feet and fingers. She’s hoping for a girl but, as she’s only four months pregnant, it’s still too soon to tell.

 

 

 

 

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Why first-born children are smarter

First-borns around the world, it turns out, have higher IQ’s.

According to a new study “those born earlier perform better in school” and, it’s because of the parents. Parents simply go easy on their later-born kids, according to data analyzed by economists V. Joseph Hotz and Juan Pantano, and as a result, first-born children tend to receive both the best parenting and the best grades.

 

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India seeks to regulate booming surrogacy industry

India’s booming surrogacy industry sees thousands of infertile couples hire the wombs of local women to carry their embryos through to birth.

British restaurateur Rekha Patel, dressed in a green surgical gown and cap, cradled her newborn daughter at the Akanksha clinic in northwestern India as her husband Daniel smiled warmly, peering in through a glass door.

 

 

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Wealthy Chinese hire American surrogate mothers to carry ‘designer’ babies

Surrogacy agencies in both countries say demand has risen rapidly in the last two years.

Rich Chinese couples are hiring American women to serve as surrogates for their children, creating a small but growing business in $120,000 “designer” American babies for China’s elite.

 

 

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U.S. fertility rates are leveling off

There were almost 4 million babies born to American women in 2012.

According to statistics in a National Center for Health Statistics report released last week, fertility rates are leveling off for the first time since before the recession began as more American women are having babies in an improving economy.

 

 

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Are reported high rates of childlessness a myth?

Reported high rates of childlessness fail to take into account fertility treatments, adoptions and the simple delay of childbirth.

Recent reports of the rise of childlessness are premature. As with fertility dynamics generally, the phenomenon has many parts. The reports may prove true in the long term, or they may not—but it’s too soon to tell.

 

 

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America in the midst of a baby bust

Once a country’s fertility rate falls consistently below replacement, its age profile begins to shift.

Chinese women have been subjected to China’s brutal one-child policy for more than 30 years. Women who try to have more children have been subjected to fines and forced abortions. Their houses have been razed and their husbands fired from their jobs. As a result, Chinese women have a fertility rate of 1.54. Here in America, white, college-educated women—a good proxy for the middle class—have a fertility rate of 1.6. America has its very own one-child policy. And we have chosen it for ourselves.

 

 

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