OAKLAND, Calif., March 2 (UPI) -- The birth of octuplets in California calls attention to a lack of regulation in the field of assisted reproduction, some experts said.
Although the doctor who supervised in vitro fertilization on the 33-year-old woman who gave birth to octuplets in January is regarded by many in the field as having violated professional norms, U.S. health records indicate a large majority of fertility clinics disregarded implant guidelines in 2006, the Oakland (Calif.) Tribune reported Sunday.
Citing data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the newspaper said 80 percent of U.S. fertility clinics in 2006 -- the most recent year for which records are available -- did not follow embryo implant guidelines set in 1999 by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The organization advises implanting no more than two embryos in women younger than 35, the report said.
"Assisted reproduction is a multibillion-dollar business," Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society in Oakland said. "Like other commercial enterprises, it needs rules."
ASRM spokesman Sean Tipton told the newspaper exceptions to the guidelines are permitted, and the society is not inclined to second-guess decisions made by physicians.
The guidelines are strictly voluntary, the Tribune noted.
Darnovsky said if reproductive decisions are left "up to the marketplace, we'll get more abuses and a race to the bottom."