Ethics Paper About Reproductive Technologies (Art)

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Ethics Paper about Reproductive Technologies (ART)

Ethics Paper about Reproductive Technologies (ART)


New reproductive technologies (NRT) is an umbrella term for myriad medical and scientific interventions in human reproduction, including but not limited to birth control; medical and surgical abortion; fetal testing and monitoring; assisted reproductive technologies, including in vitro fertilization; and human cloning. Gordon (2002) mentions the rapid development of NRT in the 20th century resulted in a cultural lag: The science has outpaced the moral and legal response. For sociologists of sex and gender, NRT raises important questions about the construction of the mother, the family, and the power relationships in society that shape access and the development of some technologies rather than others (Gordon, 2002).

Impact of NRT

NRT profoundly affect cultural ideas about femininity, maternity, and family. For many women, access to relatively cheap and safe birth control greatly influences the course of their lives. Technologies have enormously enhanced the ability to plan and control reproductive lives. Conversely, the control of reproductive technologies by governments, corporate interests, medical professionals, or other stakeholders can prevent women from having reproductive self-determination. Assisted reproductive technologies are typically more expensive and invasive (Gordon, 2002). For some women, access to NRT allows them to become biological mothers later in their lives or in nontraditional circumstances, or when they otherwise physically could not. Again, as scholars point out, this provides some freedom and creates some pressure for women to continue to think of themselves as potential mothers throughout their 40s. Girls and women experience varying degrees of control over their reproductive capacity depending on their circumstances. Race, class, age and religion also significantly shape women's relationships to NRT (Orenstein, 2007).

The development of new technologies both shape and are shaped by social interests in reproduction. Although NRT expands choices, choice always occurs in a cultural context. Some scholars argue that we must question the ways that new technologies shape our beliefs about what we are entitled to choose and what we should want or should choose (Orenstein, 2007). Social norms about if and when to become pregnant; about what happens during pregnancy and childbirth; about family size; about childlessness; about adoption; about abortion; about when to stop having children; about sex selection; and about what constitutes a healthy pregnancy, fetus, and baby all shape and are shaped by reproductive technologies.

Reproduction remains a gendered phenomenon in the 21st century. NRT heavily target women and emphasize women's reproductive capacity. However, NRT also challenge traditional ideas about the gendered specificity of reproduction. Using NRT, gay men can become parents using donated embryos, and lesbians can conceive using sperm donors (Kerry, 2005). Single parents by choice can similarly use NRT to conceive. NRT can also be used by parents to sex select a fetus, emphasizing the importance of sex early in family planning and potentially creating skewed demographics for generations in the future.

Commodification of Egg Donors and Surrogates

The role of egg donors in ART raises an important set of ethical ...
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