Dynamic Development


Main Page Dynamic Development

The Foundations of Developmental Biology


From Sperm and Egg to Embryo

Genetic Regulation of Development

Organizing the Multicellular Embryo

Generating Cell Diversity

Dynamic Development at a Glance

Learning Resources

Research Resources

The Developmental Biology Journal Club

Developmental Biology Tutorial

Reproductive Technology: Advances in the Regulation of Human Fertility

Developmental biology in the bedrooms of the nation

Because it has medical, sociological, agricultural and economic implications, fertilization is one of the most fascinating and intensely-studied aspects of development. Some of the new technologies that relate to conception are discussed below.

Assisted Reproduction provides couples who are unable to conceive with the opportunity to have a child. In vitro fertilization (IVF) involves collection of eggs by laparoscopy, followed by mixing eggs and sperm and culture of the embryos before transferring them to the uterine cavity to continue their development. A recent innovation has been the introduction of the technique of intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in which sperm are microinjected into the egg cytoplasm, which was first described by Palermo (for review, see Palermo et al., 1995).

Typically, multiple eggs are fertilized during IVF. The resulting embryos that are not implanted may be frozen so that they can later be retrieved and implanted. What should be the fate of excess embryos that result from assisted reproduction but are not implanted? See Embryo Research Editorial Sparking Renewed Debate.

Learning Objectives

  • How has the intervention of technology improved the possibilities of conception?

Digging Deeper:

Links to Related Material

Should we control posthumous pregnancies?

A recording of a talk given at the Society for the Study of Fertility conference on 7th July, 1998, by Professor Sheila McClean addressing the legal and ethical issues of this topic. Sheila McClean (International Bar Association Professor of Law and Ethics in Medicine, and Director Institute of Law and Ethics in Medicine) considers this issue both in terms of British and international examples.

This recording requires RealPlayer to be installed on your computer. You may download a free copy of RealPlayer software.

There is also a discussion forum available for people to leave comments and continue the debate.

Recent Literature

Holden, C. 1997. Sex-specific sperm goes commercial. Science 276: 1503-1505.


Palermo, G.D., Cohen, J., Alikani, M., Adler , A., Rosenwaks, Z. et al. 1992. Development and implementation of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Reprod Fertil Dev 7:2 11-217 ,

Dynamic Development at a Glance
Main Page Dynamic Development

Dynamic Development is a Virtual Embryo learning resource

This material may be reproduced for educational purposes only provided credit is given to the original source.
Leon Browder & Laurie Iten (Ed.) Dynamic Development
Last revised Tuesday June 30, 1998