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Palgrave Macmillan

Selective Reproduction in the 21st Century

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  • © 2018


  • Presents the first book to specifically and comparatively focus on the routinized use of SRTs in the world today
  • Represents a broad, international, multifaceted first framing of this contentious field
  • Focuses on the actual ways in which SRTs are currently being developed, used and understood by couples, health care workers, doctors as well as regulators

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About this book

This book explores how conditions for childbearing are changing in the 21st century under the impact of new biomedical technologies. Selective reproductive technologies (SRTs) - technologies that aim to prevent or promote the birth of particular kinds of children – are increasingly widespread across the globe. Wahlberg and Gammeltoft bring together a collection of essays providing unique ethnographic insights on how SRTs are made available within different cultural, socio-economic and regulatory settings and how people perceive and make use of these new possibilities as they envision and try to form their future lives. Topics covered include sex-selective abortions, termination of pregnancies following detection of fetal anomalies during prenatal screening, the development of preimplantation genetic diagnosis techniques as well as the screening of potential gamete donors by egg agencies and sperm banks. This is invaluable reading for scholars of medical anthropology, medical sociologyand science and technology studies, as well as for the fields of gender studies, reproductive health and genetic disease research.

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Table of contents (8 chapters)


“This unique and ground-breaking volume defines a new field of “selective reproduction,” in which novel reproductive technologies and techniques allow for the birth of some children, but not others. Rich case studies from around the world make clear both the hopes and anguish of reproductive selection, particularly for women as potential parents. Together, these chapters pose major questions about the role of law, bioethics, and population policy making amidst the haunting specter of neo-eugenics. Selective Reproduction in the 21st Century should be essential reading for many audiences—social scientists of reproduction, bioethicists, disability rights scholars and activists, and the reproductive medicine community itself.” (Marcia C. Inhorn, Yale University, USA)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

    Ayo Wahlberg, Tine M. Gammeltoft

About the editors

Ayo Wahlberg is a professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is the recipient of two prestigious research grants, from the Danish Council for Independent Research (2011-2014) and the European Research Council (2015-2020). 

Tine M. Gammeltoft is a professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Her book, Haunting Images: A Cultural Account of Selective Reproduction in Vietnam, won the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize & AES Senior Book Prize.

Bibliographic Information

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