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About Reproductive Justice, Health, Rights & Human Biotechnology


Many applications of human biotechnologies, especially those involving reproduction, involve women's bodies. As these technologies are developed and used, women's well-being must be a central concern and reproductive rights must be firmly protected.

Assisted reproduction technologies have helped many people who otherwise could not have become parents of biologically related children. But these technologies tend to be costly and invasive. Their success rates, though improving, are still low. Most important, the long-term risks to women and children have not been well studied. Treating infertility has become a highly competitive business, and the field itself is notoriously under-regulated. Many experimental techniques are put into clinical use before they are adequately tested.

Other social, ethical, and practical concerns have also been raised: payments to encourage economically vulnerable women to provide eggs for other women's fertility treatment or to become surrogates; the increasing number of fertility clinics that offer social sex selection; and other forms of screening, testing, and selecting embryos. More radical reproductive technologies such as reproductive cloning and inheritable genetic modification (changing the genes we pass on to our children) are being used in animals, and though clearly dangerous, are being contemplated for use by humans.

It is not uncommon for those advocating these technologies to appropriate the language of reproductive choice to argue that parents should have the "right" to choose their children's characteristics. But as an increasing number of reproductive rights leaders point out, there are important differences between choosing when and whether to bear a child and creating a child with specified traits.

Advocates of technologies that would pre-determine the traits of future generations argue that these are "enhancements" that would improve the lives of children. But in addition to serious physical risks, significant social and psychological hazards are likely. Children born with pre-selected traits would come into the world expected to look, act, and perform according to specifications. Unreasonable and unfulfilled parental expectations can certainly flourish without these technologies, but expectations grounded in scientific claims and expensive procedures would likely be far more pronounced.



Diversity, disability and eugenics: An interview with Rob Sparrowby Xavier SymonsBioEdgeAugust 11th, 2016Philosophers and the medical profession have been way too swift to make judgments about other people’s quality of life. We're not as far from the bad old eugenics as many think.
Inside New York’s Radical Egg-Freezing Clinic for Women[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Lizzie Crocker & Abby HaglageThe Daily BeastAugust 10th, 2016Extend Fertility in Manhattan offers egg freezing at half market price. It’s also the first standalone practice of its kind in the U.S.
Mind your genes! The dark legacy of eugenics lives onby Natasha MillerABC [Australia]August 8th, 2016The misguided science of behavioral genetics and the social engineering potential of CRISPR show we have much to remember about the history of eugenics.
Booming demand, state protections attract commercial surrogate birthingby Kathy RobertsonSacramento BeeAugust 5th, 2016California has more surrogacy regulation than most states. But the founder of an agency comments, "Anybody in the whole world – even a felon – can open an agency. There is no licensing, no background check."
The Human Egg Business: More Media Coverage of California Cash-for-Eggs Legislation[citing CGS]by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportAugust 5th, 2016AB2531 is backed by the fertility industry and would remove caps on payments for egg retrieval to induce women to gamble with their health.
Bill to expand market in women’s egg donations would undermine safeguards[citing CGS]by Deborah OrtizSacramento BeeAugust 4th, 2016Let’s not repeal a law that safeguards the health of women. We can support biomedical research without putting women’s health at risk.
In crisis-hit Venezuela young women seek sterilisationby Alexandra UlmerReutersAugust 3rd, 2016Food shortages, inflation, crumbling medical sector, and anti-abortion climate have caused a growing number of women to reluctantly opt for tubal ligations.
It's time for a conversation on parental surrogacy rulesby Celine CooperMontreal GazetteJuly 31st, 2016Is Montreal inching closer to relaxing or even abandoning its entrenched disapproval of procreative surrogacy?
35 couples used surrogates since new law in placeThe Nation [Thailand]July 31st, 2016Government agencies will track outcomes for women working as surrogates and children born in surrogacy arrangements, and analyse information on ways to improve regulations.
Congress wrestles with providing fertility benefits for injured veterans and servicemembersby Karoun DemirjianThe Washington PostJuly 27th, 2016Senator Patty Murray believes the ban on IVF and other fertility options is outdated.
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