July 17, 2008
The journal Nature has a news focus in this week's issue with three articles on in vitro fertilization (IVF) and related technologies. An Editorial piece looks back at the impact of IVF, Ruth Deech, a member of the UK House of Lords and former chair of their Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) looks at the legacy of the U.K.'s early regulation of this reproductive technology, and Nature reporter Helen Pearson interviews several scientists about the future developments they foresee in the next 30 years. There is some interesting history here for those who are unfamiliar with the IVF industry and its beginnings, important questions are raised about the need for monitoring and registries of IVF-conceived children (as the Nature editors note, "safety concerns about IVF have still not evaporated" and little information is available, especially regarding newer practices such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis), and some thought-provoking and sometimes scary future scenarios (genetic engineering of babies, artificial gametes, artificial placentas, etc.) that deserve careful discussion about where we may be headed.