It will also mean a massive rise in the availability of human eggs for turning into embryos, which in turn will mean the ability to be much more selective about which embryos to to implant during IVF.
Currently egg harvesting is such an arduous process that embryos can only realistically be selected for viability and a handful of generally fatal diseases. When you are choosing 1 out of 7-10 embryos, you can't be all that picky. But between having access to hundreds of eggs, sperm obviously not being an issue, the ever decreasing cost of genomic sequencing, and the ever increasing knowledge of how specific genes relate to traits, parents undergoing IFV could start to apply many selection criteria. That wouldn't be genetic engineering in the classic sense, nothing would be available that wasn't in one of the parent's DNA, but it would get a lot of the way there.
Edit: If I was going to be beaten to the punch by anyone on this subject, I'm happy it was gwern.
In this view, it is scarcely surprising that parents would want to give their kids viable genetic information just like they want to give their kids a good home, healthy food and challenging education.
This desire to ensure the good of the kids is a strong force pushing humanity forward and I see no reason to object.
Unequal access to shelter, food, education or genetic techniques is a different matter. But our failure to ensure universal access to the spoils of a new invention does not imply that there is something wrong with the invention. The real problem is more like the lack of compassion for other folks...
So let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
We may be there soon, but we're definitely not there yet.
Cite? The research I found on this indicated that IVF children were exactly average, and IVF with use of sperm donors actually had considerably lower risk of birth defects.
If you're curious you can probably just stop by your local teaching hospital and ask for a copy of the 50+ page contract with all the informed consent details.
> If you're curious you can probably just stop by your local teaching hospital and ask for a copy of the 50+ page contract with all the informed consent details.
What a contract says is of little scientific value, unless one is studying tort law and the finer details of butt-covering.
> What a contract says is of little scientific value, unless one is studying tort law and the finer details of butt-covering.
They have actual statistics though if not references to the primary sources, so that was more the reasoning.
My point is that a congenital heart defect is something that should strike early, especially in childhood (and that's one of the usual ways to find out about it, kids dropping dead for no good reason, like after being lightly hit in a football game). If a doubling of defects can be detected, so too should a doubling of heart-related mortality. There's on the order of a million IVF kids annually in the USA alone; it's not possible for that to have gone unnoticed. So either their risk is the same as their non-IVF peers and such defects are just common among older mothers, or the defects are not actually serious (pace studies showing that things like cancers or spinal anomalies are common among healthy people, or, more IVF related, that many embryos discarded for chromosomal abnormalities turn out, when implanted, to work perfectly fine because the abnormal cells die or the embryo otherwise recovers during development).
Keep in mind that 93% of heart defects are detectable via an echocardiogram around week 24 of pregnancy. So I would imagine that in most cases where the heart defect is fixable then it's repaired, or else if it's not fixable but also not serious then the kid is just prevented from doing sports. Or else if it's serious and not fixable then pregnancy is terminated.
So I would expect the actual mortality to be substantially less than 2x. And given that heart-related mortality in children is extremely rare, I suspect it would be quite tricky to detect. Especially when you need to account for confounding issues like maternal age during pregnancy, ICSI use, etc.
Given that there are around 5,000 CHD-related deaths in children per year, and around 1.5% of babies are IVF births, we're talking at most 150 deaths per year instead of 75, probably less due to the reasons mentioned above. And once you start trying to take into account imperfect data confounding variables, it's hard to say whether having definitive proof one way or the other is even within the realm of science at that point.