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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.



Turning back the biological clock comes at a price by Rhiannon Lucy CosslettThe GuardianJuly 25th, 2016Egg freezing is marketed as the answer to precarious young lives yet excludes most of those it claims to help.
What No One Tells You About Egg Donorsby Leah CampbellMom.meJuly 22nd, 2016The profit-driven egg industry does not take the medical needs of egg donors or their right to informed choice seriously.
Should we pay women to donate their eggs for research? No, and here's why.[citing CGS’ Marcy Darnovsky, fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Michael HiltzikThe Los Angeles TimesJuly 22nd, 2016The risks of egg retrieval, particularly long-term risks, are not yet understood due to a lack of studies.
Sperm Banks Accused of Losing Samples and Lying About Donorsby Tamar LewinThe New York TimesJuly 21st, 2016Sperm banks are not required to verify information provided by sperm donors.
Who should we believe when it comes to fertility?New ScientistJuly 20th, 2016Difficult choices over when to start a family are not made any easier by conflicting signals from doctors and fertility clinics.
Fertility doc Antinori indictedASNAJuly 20th, 2016The fertility doctor is charged with forcibly removing eggs from a patient, who told police he bound and sedated her. The doctor has accused her of being a member of ISIS.
I.V.F. Does Not Raise Breast Cancer Risk, Study Showsby Catherine Saint LouisThe New York TimesJuly 19th, 2016While the study is large and comprehensive, its results remain inconclusive and contradict other studies.
The Dark Secrets of this Now-Empty Island in Maineby David JesterAtlas ObscuraJuly 14th, 2016Malaga Island was home to a fishing community. But in 1911, a racist pseudoscience and greedy politicians changed all that.
Frozen Eggs and Heated Debatesby Angel Petropanagos, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 12th, 2016What’s missing and what’s misrepresented in public debates about social egg freezing?
Eugenics bill passes Houseby Kevin EllisShelby StarJuly 7th, 2016The North Carolina bill will ensure that compensation payments to victims of the state's eugenic sterilization program are not counted as income.
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