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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.



How the Pro-Choice Movement Excludes People With Disabilitiesby Lenzi SheibleRH Reality CheckOctober 17th, 2014If we in the pro-choice movement don’t start paying serious attention to the ways in which our own practices contribute to the dehumanization of people with disabilities, we can’t keep claiming to operate under a reproductive justice framework at all.
Three Years On, What Have We Learned About Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening?by Mark LeachDown Syndrome Prenatal TestingOctober 17th, 2014Three years ago, a new prenatal test for Down syndrome entered the market offering earlier, safer, and more accurate results. What have we learned about this new technology since then?
Silicon Valley Companies Add New Benefit For Women: Egg-Freezing[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Laura SydellNPROctober 17th, 2014The addition of the benefit by Facebook and Apple comes as tech companies face mounting pressure to hire more women, but some warn it may increase pressure those employees feel to put off having kids.
Dear Facebook, Please Don't Tell Women to Lean In to Egg Freezingby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostOctober 16th, 2014What we need are family-friendly workplace policies, not giveaways that will encourage women to undergo invasive procedures in order to squeeze out more work for their company under the guise of "empowerment."
Left Out In The Cold: Seven Reasons Not To Freeze Your Eggsby Françoise BaylisImpact EthicsOctober 16th, 2014Apparently the professional cautions against egg freezing for elective purposes from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine are of no consequence to Facebook or Apple.
Another Reason Freezing Employees’ Eggs is a Terrible Idea[Quotes CGS and Marcy Darnovsky]by Ricki LewisPLOS BlogsOctober 16th, 2014Facebook and Apple’s decision to offer female employees a $20,000 benefit to freeze their eggs indicates a stunning disregard for the complexities of reproductive biology.
Freezing Eggs Puts Women and Infants’ Health at Stakeby Miriam ZollThe New York TimesOctober 16th, 2014Responsible doctors should not be recommending egg freezing to perfectly healthy young women who have no medically indicated need.
Frozen II : The Tech Industry’s Eggs[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]The Weekly WonkOctober 16th, 2014A group of experts react to the news that Apple and Facebook will pay for female employees to freeze their eggs.
Dear Facebook, Please Don’t Tell Women to Lean In to Egg Freezingby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 15th, 2014In the latest example of Silicon Valley’s challenges in dealing with non-virtual reality, Facebook and Apple are offering female employees a $20,000 benefit toward elective egg freezing, despite serious and under-studied health risks to women and children.
Egg freezing poses health risks to women[Press statement]October 15th, 2014Facebook and Apple’s egg freezing “benefit” is ill-advised for multiple reasons
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