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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.



Stars, Bars, and Embryosby Emma ManiereBiopolitical TimesJuly 28th, 2015Controversies about the confederate flag and prenatal genetic testing are far more complex than "choice" and "intent" suggest.
Sperm Donor Fathers Reveal Struggle of Not Knowing Who Their Kids Areby Lauren McMahPerth Now [Australia]July 26th, 2015ďA lot of the commentary and discussion focuses on the donor-conceived people but I think itís equally important to look at the impact on donors."
Outsourcing Motherhood: India's Reproductive Dystopiaby Namita KohliHindustan TimesJuly 26th, 2015Stories of DNA mismatches, abandoned babies, and unscrupulous practices at IVF clinics suggest that commercial surrogacy in the country is almost in a state of lawlessness.
Putting a Price on a Human Egg by Ashby JonesThe Wall Street JournalJuly 26th, 2015A lawsuit claims that price guidelines used by fertility clinics artificially suppress the amount women can get for their eggs.
The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syalby Aisha FarooqDESIblitz.com [UK]July 22nd, 2015A new novel explores issues of infertility and surrogacy that affect South Asian and British Asian society today.
POV: Itís Time to Regulate the Fertility Industryby George AnnasBoston University TodayJuly 16th, 2015Patients' intense desire to have children can leave them at the mercy of the market and unscrupulous practitioners. The fertility industry does not, and perhaps simply cannot, police itself.
First Federal Bill to Acknowledge US Eugenics Would Help Victims of State Sterilization Programsby Jonathan ChernoguzBiopolitical TimesJuly 8th, 2015If passed, it would be the first federal legislation to recognize the history of sterilization abuse that took place during the twentieth century in the name of eugenics.
Infertile Couples Hope New Technology Helps Select Most Successful Embryosby Michelle MunzSt. Louis Post-DispatchJuly 5th, 2015EmbryoScope is an incubator and camera in one. It promises to improve the selection of embryos most likely to result in pregnancy and birth.
Poverty Forces Workers' Wives to Become Surrogate Mothersby Neetu Chandra SharmaIndia TodayJuly 3rd, 201592 per cent of the surrogates in Delhi did not even have a copy of the contract and only 27 per cent of the clinics in Delhi and 11.4 per cent in Mumbai were party to the contract.
Surrogate Children Get Legal Recognition in Franceby Philippe SottoTimeJuly 3rd, 2015While surrogacy will remain banned in France, children born abroad through this practice will now be legally tied to their parents and will be granted birth certificates and French citizenship.
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