Life in the balance

The Ethics of assisted human reproduction.

May 23, 2007 | by Kate Fraher , Researcher, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada
PDF:  Life in the balance


  1. In Canada, twin births increased by 35% and triplet births increased 250% between the years 1974 and 1990 (Multiples Births: Trends and Patterns in Canada 1974-1990 Health Reports, Millar WJ, Wadhera S, Nimrod C.).  Preliminary figures from the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society for the year 2005 indicate that 32% of pregnancies from IVF/ICSI were pregnancies with more than one baby- usually twins (Retrieved from the CFAS website:  According to the U.K.’s  Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, twins occur naturally in just over 1% of all pregnancies, well below the 32% mark (Retrieved from HFEA’s website:

    Johnson, K. (2000, May 15) Tough choices on fetal reduction, genetic testing. OB/GYN News. Retrieved May 22nd  from

    For a journalist’s in-depth look at the process of fetal reduction, read Liza Mundy’s article ‘Too Much to Carry?’ published in the Washington Post  May 20, 2007.  Retrieved May 22nd  from


    Neil, D. (2007, May 6) The abortion debate brought home: He and his wife have always been pro-choice; recently, they were forced to make the Choice.  Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 22nd  from,0,2723837.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail

    Martin, N. (2007, April 2) Plans to restrict IVF treatment. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved May 22nd from
    Britain’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority published a report in October 2006 entitled “One child at a time: reducing multiple births after IVF.”  To read a copy of  the report, click here:

    Weiss, R. (2003, May 8) 400,000 Human embryos frozen in U.S.: Number at fertility clinics is far greater than previous estimates, survey finds. Washing ton Post. Retrieved May 22nd from

    The National Embryo Donation Center in the United States works with couples who wish to donate embryos and infertile couples who wish to become pregnant with adopted.   The centre was part of a group who received $309,000 in grant money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to run an Embryo Adoption Awareness Campaign. Retrieved May 22nd from

    Gerris, J.M.R. (2005). Single embryo transfer and IVF/ICSI outcome: a balanced appraisal. Human Reproduction Update, 11(2), 109. Retrieved May 22, 2007 from