A Texas woman is pregnant with twins in the first test of a new fertilization technique being touted as an alternative to test-tube conception.
The procedure, called gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), involves collecting egg and sperm cells, combining them, and then immediately injecting them by catheter to the end of the fallopian tubes. The fertilized egg then follows its normal course through the fallopian tube to the uterus. The procedure takes about 45 minutes.
Dr. Richard Asch of the University of Texas at San Antonio claims a 100 percent success rate in experiments on rhesus monkeys.
Despite its early success, the GIFT procedure may have limited use, Medical World News reports. Many of the women now using in vitro fertilization -- the test-tube method -- do so because they have diseased fallopian tubes. The test-tube method circumvents those tubes; the GIFT method does not.
GIFT may be most useful when the reason a couple can't conceive is the male's low sperm count. No Charges in Laetrile Case
San Diego authorities have decided not to prosecute a California couple who chose an alternative cancer therapy instead of conventional therapy for their 13-year-old daughter with Hodgkin's disease. Doctors had recommended conventional treatment for the girl who died on Christmas Day. Instead, the parents took their daughter to Tijuana's Bio-Medical Center, where treatment included the experimental substance Laetrile, made from apricot pits, and herbal tonics.
The authorities, who had unsuccessfully sought court intervention before the girl's death, last week decided not to prosecute the parents for criminal neglect.
Last year, when authorities asked a court to order conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatment, a Reno, Nev., judge declined, ruling that as long as the girl received some form of medical treatment -- even from an unproven clinic -- the court would not intervene.
That ruling, said San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Melinda Lasater, would make it difficult to prove "criminal intent," so no charges will be filed. Last week, after the girl's death, Lasater said: "There is nothing further this office can do. There will be no autopsy." On the Pulse
Four North Carolina youths have required surgery after being shot with air guns. Doctors warn that pellets from modern guns are particularly dangerous because they leave the gun at "velocities that equal or exceed those of common civilian handguns" . . . Elizabeth Carr, America's first test-tube baby, turned 3 on Friday. "She knows what a Petri dish looks like," her mother says. "We're certainly not keeping anything from her" . . . Researchers at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans have found that when you drink alcohol, your cells emit low-level light . . .