Happy Birthday IVF-We Never would have had our Kids had you been Born Today!

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Happy Birthday IVF

Happy Birthday IVF!  IVF fertility treatment turned 34 this month. This brings back some memories and highlights the regulatory insanity of the stem cells=drugs debate. First, I remember our pain as a couple not being able to conceive. While all of our friends were having kids and shifting into those next gears of life, we couldn’t seem to get that to happen. Advanced IVF treatments (5 day blastocyst culture) provided a miracle for us – boy/girl twins who have now turned 12 (with my daughter rapidly heading for 16!) I still remember looking at those bright, shiny balls of life under the microscope (they literally glowed) and the scare we had because we happened to take an ultrasound just after my daughter’s heart started beating, but just before my son’s got going. I also remember the fire drill of their traumatic birth and the weeks spent seeing patients all day and then going to the NICU at night.

What would have happened if the first U.S. physicians who figured out how to help couples have babies had FDA declare that because the embryos were “more than minimally manipulated”, they needed to be regulated like drugs? This nascent industry never would have gotten off the ground or worse still, we’d be 20-30 years behind where we are today as FDA would require randomized controlled trials for each small tweak or innovation. In addition, only the most financially successful IVF innovations could be tested, so most would now be lost to the dustbin of history. It’s highly unlikely the ISCI procedure we needed would yet be approved, meaning our kids wouldn’t exist. Finally, the friendly neighborhood fertility specialist wouldn’t exist either, replaced by mail-in Pharma processes like “New baby”, “Concieve-o-matic”, etc… I’m thankful that IVF was there when we needed it. This weekend I’ll be posting a book which explains in detail the how, when, what, where, and why of the Cells=Drugs debate… Look for it…

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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