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About Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, & Intersex Communities & Human Biotechnology


New genetic and reproductive technologies affect LGBTQI communities in exceptional ways.

Some of these are beneficial. For example, advances in assisted reproductive technologies enable a growing number of gay men and lesbians to become parents of biologically related children.

However, some advocates of reproductive cloning assert that gays and lesbians in particular should support it, because it would allow same-sex couples to have children that are genetically related only to a member of the couple, free of "external" DNA. Of course, such techniques do nothing to address the underlying issues of inequality and homophobia that plague society.

Genetic theories play as strong a role in shaping our social and individual identities as they do in shaping our families. Recent years have seen a resurgence of assumptions that complex human behaviors, including sexual orientation, are simply products of our genes. Though scientists have yet to find a genetic marker for homosexuality, many continue to try. Such genetic determinism and reductionism open the door to new forms of discrimination.



California Bill Would Let Birth Certificates Reflect Same-Sex Parentsby Mary PapenfussReutersAugust 20th, 2014The bill, which now goes to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, would allow parents to identify themselves as father, mother or parent when a child is born.
California Couple Shares Surrogate Story in Wake of Thailand Controversy by Beth GreenfieldYahoo! HealthAugust 19th, 2014When news broke earlier this month about baby Gammy, many were shocked. But not Keston and Andrea Ott-Dahl, a San Francisco couple who had a similar experience right here in America.
Australia Could Recognise Multiple Parentsby Michael CookBioEdgeAugust 16th, 2014Adoption and new reproduction technologies are placing new strains on what “parent” means in contemporary society. If recommendations in a major report are accepted, Australian law could be revised to allow more than two.
Coming to U.S. for Baby, and Womb to Carry Itby Tamar LewinThe New York TimesJuly 5th, 2014With paid surrogacy not allowed in most of the world, foreign couples are heading to the US for surrogate pregnancies in increasing numbers.
How our Genes Could Make us Gay or Straightby Jenny GravesThe Washington PostJune 6th, 2014New research adds another candidate gene for homosexuality, but rather than thinking of them as “gay genes,” perhaps we should consider them “male-loving genes” and "female-loving genes."
Another Scandal at a Prominent Surrogacy Agencyby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 29th, 2014Planet Hospital, a well-known medical tourism company that has boasted of pioneering cross-border surrogacy in India and Mexico, stands accused of deceiving its clients and stealing their money.
Desperate for a Baby: Scammed in Global Surrogacy's Newest Frontierby Caroline Cooper, Adam May and Anna ChristiansenAl Jazeera AmericaMay 15th, 2014The prominent international surrogacy agency Planet Hospital is now in bankruptcy and under federal investigation, accused of leaving clients with a pile of bills and no babies.
A Sperm Donor, Uncertain of What It Is to Be ‘Bio-Dad’by David DodgeThe New York TimesMarch 31st, 2014My good friends needed some free, fresh sperm. Beyond that sounding like some twisted promotion at a farmer’s market, why not help? Plenty of reasons, it turns out.
INTERVIEW: “I’m a Queer Egg Donor”by Raquel CoolWe Are Egg DonorsMarch 28th, 2014This interview is about stigma, being queer, and navigating the heteronormative medical landscape of egg donation.
NHS Fertility Treatments Allow Two-Mum Families to Reach Record Levels by Emily DuganThe IndependentMarch 27th, 2014Record numbers of lesbian couples are becoming parents through fertility treatment, official figures show. The number of two-mum families jumped by more than a third in 2012 in the UK.
Bodies and Babies Commodified: A Review of Breedersby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorBiopolitical TimesFebruary 17th, 2014Breeders serves as a necessary corrective to the rosy PR the surrogacy industry puts out.
Court: Marotta is a father, not merely a sperm donorby Steve FryTopeka Capital-JournalJanuary 23rd, 2014A Kansas court has ordered a sperm donor to pay child support because a doctor was not involved in the insemination process.
No More Tourist Visa for Commissioning Surrogacy in India: Home MinistryIBN LiveOctober 30th, 2013Foreign nationals intending to visit India for commissioning surrogacy will not be allowed to come on a tourist visa, with the Home Ministry ordering strict adherence of surrogacy laws.
ASRM Meeting: What to Knowby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 24th, 2013The annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the fertility industry organization, typically generates headlines. Here are some of this year’s top stories.
Savulescu Warns that “Love-Diminishing” Drugs could be Used for Gay “Conversion Therapy”by Xavier SymonsBioEdgeOctober 12th, 2013A controversial new paper examines the ethics of using drugs to “normalize” people with atypical sexual desires.
Canadian LGBTQ Families and Assisted Reproduction by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 9th, 2013A major series of news articles describes "the emerging world of gay parenthood and surrogacy" in Canada — and abroad.
Sun, sand and surrogatesby Natalie StechysonCalgary HeraldSeptember 30th, 2013International surrogacy is fraught with ethical and medical dilemmas, including the possibility that the women who bear children for others are being exploited.
Should Sperm Donors Have Parental Rights?by Judy CampbellKQEDAugust 19th, 2013A bill prompted by a custody dispute involving actor Jason Patric would allow certain sperm donors to seek paternity rights. Opponents say it could undercut the rights of same-sex couples and single mothers.
'More Rights, More Inclusion, Better Country': Argentina Approves IVF for All[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Alex SternThe Huffington PostJune 20th, 2013In vitro fertilization is now available to heterosexual couples, single women, and gay couples in Argentina.
Shifts in the Global Body Market: Access or Exploitation?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 1st, 2013PlanetHospital claims that new surrogacy regulations in India have ruined a “golden opportunity” and paints Mexico and Thailand as the surrogacy frontiers – where it happens to have business arrangements.
Cloning, De-extinction, and Possibly Human Applicationsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 29th, 2013Synthetic biologist and entrepreneur George Church and cloning expert Robert Lanza are starting a company to change animal reproduction — and maybe human, too, but they wouldn't say that even if it were true.
Surrogacy's Painful Path to Parenthoodby Julia MedewThe AgeMarch 23rd, 2013Reports of abortions, questionable medical bills and baby mix-ups are increasingly emerging from overseas destinations where commercial surrogacy is legal.
Surrogacy Laws May Leave Australian Babies Statelessby Kerry BrewsterABC News [Australia]March 4th, 2013Australian babies may be left stateless and unable to leave India as a result of changes to the country's commercial surrogacy laws.
A Call for International Prohibition of Forced Genital-Normalizing Surgery and Sterilizationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 21st, 2013A new report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture focuses on human rights abuses in health-care settings, and bolsters LGBTQI activists in their fight against involuntary sterilizations and genital-normalizing surgeries.
Promoting the Civil Rights of Children Born With Variations of Sex AnatomyAdvocates for Informed ChoiceFebruary 6th, 2013The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture calls upon all States to repeal any law allowing intrusive and irreversible treatments, including forced genital-normalizing surgery, involuntary sterilization, and unethical experimentation.
French Gay Marriage Plans Stir Parenthood Debateby Associated PressNPRJanuary 31st, 2013The president's promise to legalize gay marriage was seen as relatively uncontroversial when it first came up, but the news reopened a raw national debate on fertility treatments, surrogacy and adoption.
Human Rights and Sweden’s Repeal of Required Sterilization for Transgender Peopleby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 23rd, 2013The Swedish law that required transgender people to undergo sterilization before they could be legally recognized as another gender has been recognized as a violation of human rights.
Sweden Ends Forced Sterilisation of Sex Change PatientsMedical ExpressJanuary 10th, 2013Sweden will no longer require sex change patients to be sterilised, ruling that the practice is unconstitutional and in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
New Guidelines: India Not A Viable Option For Gay Couples, Unmarried Couples Or Single Individualsby Andrew VorzimerThe Spin DoctorJanuary 4th, 2013India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has released guidelines that apply to foreign nationals seeking an Indian surrogate.
Exclusive: Rise in Number of Couples Seeking 'Wombs for Hire' Abroad by Jeremy LauranceThe IndependentDecember 28th, 2012The number of British couples formally registering children born to foreign surrogates has nearly trebled in five years, raising concerns that poor women in developing countries are being exploited by rich Westerners.
New Calif. Law Eases Sperm Donor Testing RulesMercury NewsDecember 28th, 2012California women who want to get pregnant using sperm from a donor they know should find the process easier and less expensive next year, thanks to a new state law.
Law Lags as Aussies Employ Overseas Surrogate Mums[radio transcript]by Damien CarrickABC (Australia) RadioNationalOctober 23rd, 2012Though surrogacy is illegal in Australia, a child is born in India to Australian parents every day. What are the legal and ethical dimensions of hiring a woman from another country as a surrogate?
Surrogacy, Now Big Business in Southern Californiaby Michael CookBioEdgeOctober 20th, 2012A promotional video used for gay couples in “the surrogacy friendly state of California” lacks any discussion of the difficult moral terrain.
Is This Informal Surrogacy or Exploitation?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 2nd, 2012A bizarre situation in Texas is either the result of a horrible misunderstanding about an informal, unpaid surrogacy or an appalling case of exploitation.
Complete Video Now Online for Eugenics in California: A Legacy of the Past?by Center for Genetics and SocietyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 28th, 2012A video recording of a public event at Berkeley School of Law about the legacies of eugenics in California.
Feel-Good Surrogacy?: The New Normal Tackles ARTs with Lighthearted Banterby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 17th, 2012The New Normal showcases a lighthearted vision of surrogacy and gay parenthood that has moving moments, but largely misses the mark.
The Dangers of Fetal Engineering by Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesAugust 17th, 2012A recent study considers the troubling off-label use of a risky drug in pregnant women whose baby girls may not be born with normal-looking genitals.
Pride: In Your Genes? by Daniel SharpBiopolitical TimesJune 28th, 2012A new "gay gene" study and a strange float at the Pride Parade present a context to reflect on genetic determinism and the meaning of pride.
Designer Babies in Popular Cultureby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 21st, 2012The Whitest Kids U’Know’s comedic parody of genetic counseling is reminiscent of a similar scene in GATTACA.
Revealed: How More and More Britons are Paying Indian Women to Become Surrogate Mothersby Shekhar BhatiaThe Telegraph (UK)May 26th, 2012The sheer scale of the “baby factory” phenomenon is now causing concern with the Indian government. There are up to 1,000 unregulated clinics, comprising an industry worth as much as £1.5 billion a year.
Same-Sex Custody Battle Could Change Florida Law by James RosicaNewsOKMarch 4th, 2012The battle over what defines motherhood is being played out on prime-time television shows and in courtrooms across the country.
Is Hollywood turning surrogacy into a trend?by Joanne RichardToronto SunAugust 16th, 2011There's a baby boom in Hollywood and celebrity surrogacy is front and center. Celebrity surrogacy could in fact be a trend, says Dr. Stuart Fischoff. After all, a baby bump is not for everyone.
Gene of the Week: Christianityby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 1st, 2011Gay scientists are reported to have isolate the 'Christian gene' and to have successfully removed it from experimental rats.
New film depicts a genetically engineered, anti-gay future by Doug PetBiopolitical TimesMarch 17th, 2011Nisha Ganatra’s Beholder depicts a future in which children are genetically designed and homosexuality is screened out of the population.
India moves toward regulation of assisted reproduction and surrogacy by Doug PetBiopolitical TimesFebruary 10th, 2011The Indian Ministry of Health has finalized its 2010 ART Regulation bill, which if approved will have enormous implications for global ART and surrogacy.
On the scales: Social justice and pluralism in reproductive tourismby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorFebruary 1st, 2011Bioprospecting for eggs or colonizing wombs are not morally equivalent to bargain hunting or bypassing prejudice about who may become parents.
Surrogacy Law: Conn. Gives Non-Genetic Parents Legal Rightsby Susan Donaldson JamesABC NewsJanuary 20th, 2011Connecticut's Supreme Court honors a signed agreement between a surrogate mother and a gay couple.
Researchers produce two-father mice babies, and bait the hype trap by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesDecember 14th, 2010Scientists fuel sensationalist speculation about reproductive methods for gay families.
ART and Art in the Movies 2010by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesAugust 25th, 2010Assisted reproductive technologies are a repeating theme this year in Hollywood, and the results seem to be decidedly mixed.
Other uses for laboratory-produced sperm?by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesJuly 13th, 2009Advances in laboratory-produced sperm--if perfected--could also be used for other purposes, including troubling ones.
Will women one day father children?by Sheryl UbelackerThe Globe and MailJune 18th, 2009Could same-sex human reproduction using stem cells one day become reality?
Fertility clinics to recruit more lesbians as egg donors for IVFby Sophie GoodchildEvening StandardJune 9th, 2009Fertility clinics are targeting lesbians as egg providers after research found higher IVF success rates than among heterosexual women
Stripped down embryo bill passes Georgia Senateby Matt SchaferSouthern VoiceMarch 20th, 2009Georgia lawmakers passed a bill regulating the creation of embryos
Homo Genesis [PDF]by Marcy DarnovskyBitchJune 6th, 2008Techno enthusiasts are marketing extreme reproductive technologies to gay families in a way that could set us on the road to a new chapter in eugenic experimentation.
Conceiving the Future [PDF]Reproductive-justice activists on technology and policyby Andi Zeisler and Emily GalpernBitchJune 6th, 2008Emerging reproductive and genetic technologies have raised critical issues for social-justice movements. This roundtable discussion features some of the women who've been engaged in these national conversations.
Female sperm and gay guinea pigsby Marcy DarnovskySan Francisco ChronicleMarch 12th, 2008While gay families and their supporters await the California Supreme Court's ruling on the constitutionality of a voter-approved law banning same-sex marriage, a few researchers and pundits are proposing that same-sex procreation with bio-engineered gametes will undermine one of the key arguments of same-sex marriage opponents.
Are male eggs and female sperm on the horizon?[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Peter AldhousNew ScientistFebruary 2nd, 2008In a handful of labs across the world, biologists are trying to make genetically male cells develop into eggs, and female cells into sperm.
Gay couple buys 'designer' sons from USby Peta HellardThe Daily Telegraph (Australia)October 14th, 2007A gay couple has travelled to the US to buy "designer twin boys" through a surrogate mother at a cost of as much as $133,000.
Can’t discard them as embryos, abort them as fetuses, or cast them out? Try hormone patches.by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMarch 16th, 2007A leading evangelical would support hormonal "treatments" for fetuses if genetic tests that can identify them as predisposed to be gay are developed.
LGBT Community Discusses Reproductive and Genetic TechnologiesGenetic CrossroadsMay 12th, 2006A two-day series of events titled Designer Genes: Genetic Technologies and the De-selection of Queer Bodies was held in early May at the New York City LGBT Community Center.
Designer GenesGenetic Technologies and the De-selection of Queer BodiesMay 6th, 2006The LGBT Center, the Committee on Women, Population, and the Environment, and the Center for Genetics and Society invite you to a free panel and discussion tracing the links between reproductive and emerging genetic technologies, our identities as LGBTQI people, and the history of eugenics.
Genetic Technologies and the LGBTQI Community: Myths and FactsApril 17th, 2004This "fact sheet" from CGS offers rebuttals to commons myths about reproductive cloning and other emerging human reproductive technologies, and the LGBTQI community.
Ethical Issues in New Uses of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosisby Edgar DahlHuman ReproductionJune 1st, 2003In this brief article, German bioethicist Edgar Dahl raises and dismisses five objections to the future use of embryo screening to choose the sexual orientation of children. He does not mention any evidence for, or controversy about, a "gay gene," but concludes that if a "safe and reliable genetic test" for sexual orientation were to become available, "parents should clearly be allowed" to use it, as long as they are permitted to select for homosexual as well as heterosexual children. Dahl has previously argued that PGD should be allowed for sex selection for social reasons.
The Mystique of the Phantom "Gay Gene"by Philip L. BereanoSeattle TimesFebruary 26th, 1996There is significant social debate on whether homosexuality is a biological characteristic.... The scientific argument for a biological basis for sexual orientation remains weak.

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