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April 11 2013

Made-to-Order Embryos Create New Legal Issues

People in the United States who want to have children have been able to purchase donated sperm and eggs separately for some time, but the relatively recent practice of selling embryos introduces new ethical and legal issues that should be addressed, experts say.

Most recently, a fertility clinic in Davis, Calif., began combining donor eggs and sperm to create embryos, which can then be used in fertility treatments for a price tag of $9,800 for a pregnancy, much cheaper than what it costs to become pregnant via traditional in vitro fertilization (IVF), according to the Los Angeles Times. The clinic is able to offer the treatment at a lower cost because it creates a batch of embryos from a single sperm and single egg donor together, and then sells the embryos to multiple patients, the Times reported. Couples who opt for this method of fertility treatment would have no genetic relation to their children.

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