The tale of the South African grandmother pregnant with her daughter's triplets surfaced in the middle of the Fifth World Congress on In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer. But it created hardly a ripple among the scientists and clinicians gathered last month in blossom-time Norfolk, Virginia.

They included all the big names of IVF as well as many who nurse big-name dreams, and they were intent on taking stock of where they are and where they're going. So intent, in fact, that news from the outside world seemed not to penetrate—let me succumb to an irresistible metaphor—the concrete zona pellucida of the convention center's appropriately round main hail.

Not even relevant news, apparently. For, unlike poor pitiful Baby M, conceived through the comparatively hoary technology of artificial insemination, the South African Three are IVF products. The laboratory-generated embryos resulted from bringing together the mother's eggs with her spouse's sperm. They...

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