A new book entitled Infertility, a collection of essays edited by Renate D. Klein and published in England, maintains that the new reproductive technologies are in general failed technologies. They raise false hopes, she states; they expose women to serious medical dangers, and the estimates of their success rates are far lower than their practitioners claim. Clinics which have never sent a woman home with a baby claim success rates as high as 25 per cent. Ann Pappert of Canada writes that what is urgently needed to voice for infertile women, not more invasive technologies. The media rarely discuss the problems of in-vitro fertilization. Instead they show pictures of smiling babies bringing happiness to previously infertile couples. The truth about the failure rate is rarely told, says a review in The (London) Observer.
The Sixth World Congress on In-vitro Fertilization met in Jerusalem early in April 1989. It heard almost the same message from a senior official of the World Health Organization. Dr. Marsden Wagner. He criticized the rapid spread of technique, which he said has never been properly evaluated: there has not been a single random trial on the effectiveness and safety of in-vitro fertilization.
“What we do know,” he said, “is that, at great cost, about 8 per cent of couples in any country can be helped by in-vitro fertilization with considerable risk of not ending up with a healthy baby.” Statistics show that one-third to one-half of pregnancies end in miscarriage. The procedures also has a multiple birth rate 27 times that of babies conceived naturally; it has four times the normal prenatal death rate; it has low birth weight and premature delivery.
If the cost of one live in-vitro birth were applied to preventing of sexually transmitted diseases, he contended, 100 women could be prevented from becoming infertile in the first place.