In the mid-1990s, the international community pronounced prenatal sex selection via abortion an “act of violence against women” and “unethical.” At the same time, new developments in reproductive technology in the United States led to a method of sex selection before conception; its US inventor marketed the practice as “family balancing” and defended it with the rhetoric of freedom of choice. In Gender before Birth, Rajani Bhatia takes on the double standard of how similar practices in the West and non-West are divergently named and framed.
Bhatia’s extensive fieldwork includes interviews with clinicians, scientists, biomedical service providers, and feminist activists, and her resulting analysis extends both feminist theory on reproduction and feminist science and technology studies. She argues that we are at the beginning of a changing transnational terrain that presents new challenges to theorized inequality in reproduction, demonstrating how the technosciences often get embroiled in colonial gender and racial politics.
This report tracks steps taken by the Government of Canada towards strengthening the country’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act and supporting regulation. It focuses on three specific areas: the safety of donor sperm and eggs; the process, scope, and documentation related to reimbursement; administration and enforcement.
The purpose of the document, according to its introduction, is to provide Canadians with an overview of key policy proposals that will help inform the development of regulations and engage citizens prior to finalizing policy. Several members of Impact Ethics participated in a public consultation (read the summary), including Françoise Baylis, co-editor of “Family Making: Contemporary Ethical Challenges.”
Read a commentary on Health Canada’s efforts to reboot the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, contributed to the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics by Francine Coeytaux (Co-Director of Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research), Marcy Darnovsky (Executive Director of Center for Genetics and Society), Susan Berke Fogel (Co-Director of Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research), and Emily Galpern (Consultant at Center for Genetics and Society).
Listen to James J. Hughes, director of The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies on the ethics of emerging technologies – including those used for human gene editing – and the challenges to public policy in dealing with resulting social and economic changes.
A new study has been published on risks to children conceived via IVF. According to the researchers at King’s College London and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, fears of commonly assumed risks are “largely unfounded” and the long-term health effects of IVF are still relatively unknown.
A summary of the study discusses the role of epigenetics in the development of health problems in twins conceived naturally and via IVF. While epigenetic influence has been identified in conditions such as cancer and mental illness, the researchers observe no such differences in children conceived by IVF. They conclude on a reassuring note, for people who have used and have children via IVF, along with a call for more studies to confirm whether smaller epigenetic changes they observed during the study remain over time.
The Hastings Center focuses on ethical and social issues in health care, science, and technology. The organization describes itself as “the oldest independent, nonpartisan, interdisciplinary research institute of its kind in the world,” producing original research, voice, and service to the field of bioethics, helping shape lay and institutional thinking on ways biotechnologies impact the health and human rights of those involved.