Health Care Analysis

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 41–49 | Cite as

Assisted Reproduction: Managing an Unruly Technology

Abstract

Technology is “unruly” because it operates in a social context where it is shaped by institutions, organisations and individuals in ways not envisaged when it was first developed. In the UK assisted reproductive technology has developed from strictly circumscribed beginnings as a treatment for infertility within the NHS, to a service which is more often offered by commercial clinics and purchased by clients who are not necessarily infertile. The article considers the process by which assisted reproductive technology has been created and developed, a process which is ideological rather than technical, and the social implications of its ever expanding use. In a society where the discourse around reproduction and family life is one of choice and acceptance of diversity of life styles, the conditions are set for further “unruliness” supported by clinicians and commercial interests. The HFEA, public consultations and media coverage tend to subscribe to the way ethical issues are framed by those interested parties, an approach that favours increased liberalisation.

assisted reproduction liberalisation regulation technology unruliness 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Barns, I. (1996) Manufacturing Consensus: Reflections on the UK National Consensus Conference on Plant Biotechnology. Science As Culture, 5(2), 119–216.Google Scholar
  2. Bionews 213 16/6-03-22/06/03 Whitaker Case Sparks Call, for Legal Change. Progress Educational Trust. www.Bionews.org.ukGoogle Scholar
  3. British Fertility Society. (2000) British Fertility Society Response to HFEA and ACGT Consultation Document on Preimplantation Diagnosis. March 2000. Accessed August 1, 2003 from http://www.britishfertilitysociety.org.uk/practicepolicy/documents/preimplantation.htmlGoogle Scholar
  4. British Fertility Society. (2003) Minutes: Annual General Meeting 14th July, 2003. Item 3: Chairman's Report. Accessed August 1, 2003 from http://www.britishfertilitysociety.org.ukGoogle Scholar
  5. Clarke A. (1991) Is Non-Directive Genetic Counselling Possible? Lancet 338, 998–1000.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Davis, L., and Elsworth. (2002) NW Lottery of fertility treatment. Liverpool Daily Post November 26, p. 17.Google Scholar
  7. Department of Health. (2003) Our Inheritance, Our Future. Realising the Potential of Genetics in the NHS. London: Department of Health. Cm 5791-11.Google Scholar
  8. Dickins, B.M. (2002) Can Sex Selection be Ethically Tolerated [Editorial]? Journal of Medical Ethics. 28, 335–336.Google Scholar
  9. Elton, B. (2000) Inconceivable. London: Black SwanGoogle Scholar
  10. Goonzalez, J. (2002) Quoted on Website. Man Not Included. Private Fertility for Lesbian and Single Women. Accessed July 8, 2003 www.mannotincluded.comGoogle Scholar
  11. Graves, D. (1998) Doubts Over Oldest Mother may Lead to New Clinic Rules Daily Telegraph January 22. www.telegraph.co.ukGoogle Scholar
  12. Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). (2001) 5th Code of Practice. London: HFEAGoogle Scholar
  13. HFEA/Human Genetics Commission. (2001b) Outcome of the Public Consultation on Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. London: HFEAGoogle Scholar
  14. HFEA. (2002) Sex Selection: Choice and Responsibility in Human Reproduction. London: HFEA. (full text on website www.hfea.gov.uk)Google Scholar
  15. Lee, R.G., and Morgan, D. (2001) Human Fertilisation and Embryology: Regulating the Reproductive Revolution. London: Blackstone Press.Google Scholar
  16. Levitt, M. (2001) Not so Wrong That we are Prepared to Threaten the Entire Service: The regulation of Reproductive Technologies in the UK. Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics 7(2), 45–51.Google Scholar
  17. Mitchie, S., Bron, F., Bobrow, M., and Marteau, T. (1997) Nondirectivenesss in Genetic Counselling: An Empirical Study. American Journal of Human Genetics 60(1), 40–47.Google Scholar
  18. Moorhead, J. (2003) 100% natural. The Guardian February 4.Google Scholar
  19. Nelkin, D., and Lindee, M.S. (1995) The DNA Mystique. The Gene as Cultural Icon. New York: W.H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  20. North Lincolnshire NHS Primary Care Trust. (2002, November) Public Consultation Document on Draft Guidelines for the Provision of NHS Funded Fertility Services for People who LiveWithin the Area Covered by North Lincolnshire or are Registered with a North Lincolnshire General Practitioner. Available from www.nlpct.nhs.uk/publications/docs/finalfertilityguidelinesdoc271102. pdf. Accessed July 11, 2003.Google Scholar
  21. Pennings, G. (2002) Reproductive Tourism as Moral Pluralism in Motion. Journal of Medical Ethics 28, 337–341.Google Scholar
  22. Price, F. (1999) Beyond Expectation: Clinical Practices and Clinical Concerns. In J. Edwards, S. Franklin, E. Hirsch, F. Price, and M. Strathen (Eds.), Technologies of Procreation (2nd ed., pp. 29–53). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Sutcliffe, A. (2002) Health Risks in Babies Born After Assisted Reproduction. BMJ 325, 117–118Google Scholar
  24. Van Dyck, J. (1995) Manufacturing Babies and Public Consent. Macmillan: LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Wynne, B. (1988) Unruly Technology. Practical Rules, Impractical Discourses and Public Understanding. Social Studies of Science 18, 147–167.Google Scholar
  26. Wynne, B. (2001) Creating Public Alienation: Expert Cultures of Risk and Ethics on GMOs. Science as Culture 10(4), 445–481.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Professional EthicsUniversity of Central LancashirePrestonUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations