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(p.1) Chapter One Introduction
Contested Reproduction
John H. Evans
University of Chicago Press

There is a revolution under way in how babies come into being that may change the entire society. Reproductive genetic technologies (RGTs) allow parents to influence the genetic qualities of their offspring more precisely than through “normal” fertilization by a sperm and an egg after sex. Currently possible and potential technologies include genetic carrier screening, fetal testing followed by abortion, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, sex-determining sperm sorting, human genetic engineering, and reproductive cloning. The least controversial application of RGTs is to make sure that children do not have deadly childhood diseases such as Tay-Sachs. Embryos are also being screened by couples to make sure their children do not suffer from a strong squint, deafness, or dwarfism. Even technologies long considered to be in the realm of science fiction now appear to be on the horizon. This chapter provides an understanding of opposition to RGTs by inductively examining the reasons people give for their opposition to RGTs. Generally, the religious are opposed to RGTs and the applications of RGTs more than the nonreligious, but a more subtle answer is to identify the characteristics of different RGTs that tend to fall on either side of the moral divide between approval and disapproval.

Keywords:   reproductive genetic technologies, Tay-Sachs, embryos, genetic carrier, religious

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