18 Ways to Make a Baby
When I first heard there were 18 ways to make a baby, I was flabbergasted. Dr. Jamie Grifo, a specialist in reproductive endocrinology at New York University Medical Center, casually mentioned the fact in an interview that I taped with him for this NOVA program.
Imagine my amazement when I learned that there were actually many more than 18.
Before producing the film, I probably would have been surprised to hear there were more than three or four. Like most people, I was familiar with artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization and frozen embryos, but not much more. While working on the program, I had come to have a layperson’s understanding of some of the latest techniques, which have futuristic names like Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. Nevertheless, I was initially hard-pressed to come up with 18 ways.
Eventually I did, and I ran the list past Dr. Grifo to ensure it was accurate. It was, and here it is.
Note: Click on highlighted terms for a definition.
1. Natural sex
2. Artificial insemination — of mother with father’s sperm
3. Artificial insemination — of mother with donor sperm
4. Artificial insemination — with egg and sperm donors, using surrogate mother
5. In vitro fertilization (IVF) — using egg and sperm of parents
6. IVF — with Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
7. IVF — with frozen embryos
8. IVF — with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)
9. IVF — with egg donor
10. IVF — with sperm donor
11. IVF — with egg and sperm donor
12. IVF — with surrogate using parents’ egg and sperm
13. IVF — with surrogate and egg donor
14. IVF — with surrogate and sperm donor
15. IVF — with surrogate using her egg, sperm from baby’s father
16. IVF — with surrogate using egg and sperm donors*
17. Cytoplasm transfer**
18. Nuclear transfer and cloning
*In this case, the newborn essentially has five parents: the birth parents who provided the egg and sperm, the surrogate mother who carried the baby, and the parents who will raise the baby.
**The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently asked the specialists that perform this experimental procedure to submit it for FDA approval, so it is currently not available.