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Reunion of Test Tube Babies

Since the first test tube baby was born 22 years ago, the technique has helped produce tens of thousands of babies. Jon Frankel reports.

An estimated one in six couples suffer from infertility. For many of them In Vitro fertilization is the remedy. Where an egg is fertilized outside of the body and then implanted in the womb to grow. The science has improved a lot over the years. We caught up with one doctor who counts his success stories in the thousands.

There were strollers by the dozen. A caravan of kids conceived in a petri dish. It was a family affair. No matter what size, come one or come all.

It was a field of dreams come true. "We were actually told that we probably couldn't have children," says one parent Marj Blinderman. "Thanks to Dr. Lavy, we have two beautiful girls."

Nearly 15-hundred children and proud parents came to celebrate life and the one man they have in common. Gad Lavy, who ten years ago started the New England Fertility Institute in Connecticut.

"It’s just awesome," says Lavy. "It’s amazing and it’s hard to describe this is what I always wanted to do. It is very gratifying to be able to see all them."

With Dr. Lavy's help, Adam and Marj Blinderman now have 14-month old twins Katie and Madeline. "It is overwhelming," says Adam. "These guys are a gift. And I get very emotional but Dr. Lavy did some great things. I can't thank him enough. That's what he means. He's tremendous."

Moms, Dads and kids lined up as if he were Santa Claus - but Dr. Lavy has already given his gift.

Twenty years ago many considered this science to be messing with mother nature. But today's In Vitro baby has a much more acceptable face. John and Lynny Brantely's son Marcus is now three and a half.

"People don't say hey look at my son he was an In Vitro child," says John. "You don't do that. When you come here you realize how many people have some of the same problems. And there's nothing wrong with it. There's no stigma attached to it."

What does come with these techniques is the chance that parents will get more than they bargained for. Dr. Lavy's efforts resulted in triplets for the Salerno family.

"Without him and his staff, none of this would have been possible and our lives are 3 times better for it," says Maureen Salerno.

"To see how many people were in exactly the same boat we were in and to be helped out the way we were helped out. I mean the results speak for themselves," says Michael Salerno.

Even though the science has progressed a lot, there are no guarantees. The chances of success are still only 35% to 40%. The reason you see so many twins and triplets is that a doctor will usually implant several embryos to increase the odds of a successful pregnancy.

You can limit the number of embryos you implant so that you don't run the risk of having a large number of babies, which an be dangerous to the mother and the babies. The cases you hear about Septuplets and Octuplets are associated with using drugs to stimulate the ovaries.

In Vitro is now thought to be the safest because you can eliminate the chance of a high multiple birth. But it's expensive, around ten thousand dollars for one try. Treatment with drugs is much cheaper so many people try that route first.

Thirteen states have passed laws requiring insurance companies to cover fertility treatments, but not all cover In Vitro.

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