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.
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.
Reproduction 3.0by Leah Ramsay, Bioethics BulletinFebruary 26th, 2015When you use a technology in a new way like this, it really challenges our notions of what it means to be a parent and what it means to be a family.
Blog: Three Parent IVFby Dr Trevor Stammers, St Mary’s University BlogFebruary 16th, 2015At our current stage of understanding of the interactions between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, this proposed new therapy could turn out to be a monstrous mistake.