Researchers have conducted a controversial study that involved paying dozens of young women at a hospital near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to get artificially inseminated so their embryos could be flushed out of their bodies and analyzed for research purposes.
The study showed that embryos created that way appear to be as healthy genetically as embryos created through standard in vitro fertilization. Physically, the embryos appear to, possibly, even be healthier, the study found.
The research, published online in the journal Human Reproduction, suggests the approach could offer couples a simpler, less expensive way for some couples to have healthy children than is currently available via IVF, the scientists and others say.
“What this essentially does is use a woman’s body as a petri dish,” says Laurie Zoloth, a bioethicist at the University of Chicago. “And there’s something about that that seems so profoundly disturbing.”
The women also had to get injections of powerful hormones to stimulate their ovaries, which can pose some risk. In addition, some women underwent surgical or chemical abortions afterward, when tests indicated some of the embryos might not have been successfully removed.
“I think this research was unethical,” Zoloth says.
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