New AI Technology Raises Concerns About Eugenics in IVF Embryo Selection
Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing the field of in vitro fertilization (IVF), but they are also raising concerns about eugenics. A new AI software called EMA, developed by Israeli company AIVF, is now being used to evaluate embryos for IVF procedures and determine which ones are most suitable for successful pregnancies. However, experts are worried that this technology may lead to a eugenic approach that devalues certain human lives.
David Prentice, the vice president of scientific affairs at the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, has described this AI program as eugenic technology. In his opinion, using AI to select embryos based on qualities such as genetic abnormalities, gender, or odds of successful implantation means that some human beings are considered as lower quality and may even be discarded as lives not worth living. Prentice emphasizes that previous studies have shown that even embryos initially deemed as low grade have developed into normal, healthy babies when given the chance for life. He argues that instead of dividing human beings into quality control silos, society should value and nurture every human life.
Embryologist Dr. Daniella Gilboa, co-founder and CEO of AIVF, acknowledges the ethical concerns surrounding IVF but believes that advancements in technology are necessary to improve success rates. IVF involves combining eggs and sperm to create embryos, which are then implanted in a woman’s uterus. Gilboa explains that the selection process for embryos is often challenging for embryologists, who have to make critical decisions based on multiple embryos that may look identical under the microscope. The low success rates across all age groups further highlight the need for improvements in IVF procedures.
With the increasing number of women choosing to freeze their eggs and delay starting a family, the demand for IVF is growing. AIVF claims that only 20% of this demand is currently being met in the United States, leaving many women unable to fulfill their dream of having a child. This is where their AI technology, EMA, comes into play. According to AIVF, EMA’s deep-learning-based algorithms assess embryo quality and developmental competence, identifying features that may not be detectable to the human eye. The company claims that EMA is 30 times faster and 38% more accurate than a human embryologist, reducing the time to pregnancy for patients by an average of 21.5%.
While AIVF assures that AI is not meant to replace human doctors in making the final decision regarding embryo selection, concerns remain about the potential consequences of relying heavily on technology in such sensitive matters. AIVF’s technology has already been implemented in Europe, Asia, and South America, and the company plans to bring it to the United States soon.
As debates about the ethical implications of using AI in IVF continue, it is crucial to consider different perspectives and opinions. While AI technology offers potential improvements in embryo selection and IVF success rates, concerns about eugenics and the devaluation of human life need to be addressed. Striking a balance between technological advancements and ethical considerations is vital to ensure that every human life is valued, regardless of perceived quality.