Risky Business?

Do infertility treatments damage babies' genes? Doctors used to think not. Now they are not so sure

In the 24 years since the birth of Louise Brown, the world's first test-tube baby, thousands of would-be parents have been assured that as far as scientists knew there was no extra risk of genetic damage associated with in-vitro fertilization, or IVF. No matter how sperm meets egg--whether in a woman's body or in a Petri dish (and even if the sperm needs some help getting inside the egg)--nature is equally vigilant about preventing serious genetic mishaps from coming to term. With those assurances, test-tube births have soared from a few hundred a year in the early 1980s to tens of...

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