1. bookVolume 84 (2021): Issue 3 (September 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
24 Jan 2008
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Secular changes in human reproduction and assisted reproductive technologies

Published Online: 01 Oct 2021
Page range: 359 - 368
Received: 28 Apr 2021
Accepted: 12 Aug 2021
Journal Details
First Published
24 Jan 2008
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

Since the middle to late 20th century the majority of children born in the developing world have been likely to enter into post-reproductive age. Currently, child mortality is at its lowest level in human history. While more children are living to post reproductive age, approximately 15% of couples are experiencing infecundity. This is either a result of one or both members of the couple being infecund, or, despite both being fecund, the interaction between them prevents fertility for some reason. Assisted reproductive technologies have provided many infertile couples an opportunity to have children. Assisted reproductive technologies operate by intervening and manipulating gametic and intrauterine natural selection. This paper discusses the possible influence of assisted reproductive technologies on child development. This paper outlines some of the reported changes in children resulting from assisted reproductive technologies. Although, few people are either aware or care about possible long term consequences of relaxed natural selection contributed by medical intervention (i.e. assisted reproductive technologies) we have little understanding to what extent such medical interference may affect long term fitness in humans.


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