On the cover of New York Magazine’s September 18–October 1, 2017, issue, Stephen S. Hall writes about new IVF research indicating that tens of thousands of women who thought they couldn’t have a baby through IVF might actually have the chance after all. For decades, “abnormal” embryos were thrown away. Then some pioneering IVF doctors decided to implant them anyway. Hall writes that there is a “growing conviction among a handful of IVF doctors that ‘abnormal’ embryos might be more normal than anyone thought,” and that an abnormal embryo can produce a normal child.
“It was fascinating and stunning to learn that embryos can actually ‘self-heal’ as they develop,” says New York Magazine senior editor Genevieve Smith, who edited the story. “I’ve always been led to believe that the genetic material in an embryo was fixed, and that an abnormality would almost always mean the fetus wouldn’t survive. It’s amazing to know not only that our reproductive process is so resilient, but also that this resilience might give thousands of women a new opportunity to have biological children of their own.”