OTTAWA, November 26, 2003 ( – In announcing an In Vitro-Fertilization (IVF) breakthrough, researchers at the Ottawa Health Research Institute (OHRI) have admitted publicly that only 10-20% of human embryos created by the process survive to pregnancy.  The percentage of embryos that actually make it to birth is significantly lower.  “When treating infertility, eggs are very often fertilized in a clinic in the process known as IVF,” explained Dr. Jay Baltz, a Senior Scientist at OHRI, an institute of The Ottawa Hospital and University of Ottawa.  CBC News reports that the new discovery of a chemical which maintains the size of the ova seeks to overcome the artificially created embryos’ proneness to death.  The instability pressures IVF practitioners to implant multiple embryos into women in the hopes that one will survive the implantation and eventually be born alive.  Of note, IVF scientists find IVF ethically problematic, not so much because so many live human embryos are destroyed in the process but, because multiple embryo transfer has resulted in a greater frequency of twins, triplets and greater multiples.  Women with multiples are usually asked to undergo “reduction” which refers to the killing of one or more of the twin siblings of the child chosen to be allowed to be born. “The ultimate goal is to be able to put a single egg and get a single baby,” Baltz said.  The findings were released in this month’s publication of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). The group’s work was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).  See the CBC News coverage:   See the journal abstract online:


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