February 2015

All the papers from the February 2015 issue of Fertility and Sterility.

Controversies concerning mitochondrial replacement therapy

Research on mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) holds the promise of helping women who have, or are at risk of transmitting, mitochondrial disease, but has recently been blocked by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thus, several critical ethical and policy questions arise. Mitochondrial disease can be devastating for those who have it. Yet existing treatments remain supportive rather than curative. Women confronting this disease have a high chance of having an affected child and limited reproductive alternatives.

Searching for the perfect child

The disappearance of natural reproduction is a well-known aspect of the society described in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. In this classic novel, children are not born, but are created by technological means. Huxley presented this as one more characteristic of a dystopian society. Lee Silver of Princeton University recently shared his vision of a future in which people will not conceive naturally (1). According to Silver, natural conception is too risky. To create this less risky future, Silver is introducing a patented technology that uses the DNA of prospective parents to predict disease risk in their hypothetical children.