Advertisement

Americans and Assisted Reproduction: The Past as Prologue

  • Margaret Marsh
Chapter

Abstract

In 2010, the venerable in vitro fertilization (IVF) pioneer Howard Jones used the occasion of his 100th birthday to recommend that his younger colleagues adopt a bold new research agenda, including reproductive cloning (‘somatic reproduction’) and foetal gestation in artificial uteri (‘exogenesis’). Most couples, he argued, desire genetically related offspring; these technologies could provide them. Seemingly straight out of dystopian fiction, for Jones these techniques were simply unconventional means to a time-honoured end. Such attempts to ‘normalize’ new reproductive technologies are not new but date back to the earliest days of research into human IVF. This chapter explores the history of IVF in the context of today’s controversies over new varieties of assisted reproduction, providing a nuanced understanding of what has become a deep divide in the way we understand such technologies, as both vehicles to accomplish a ‘traditional’ objective – having a much-desired child – and as alien, and alienating, interventions with negative long-term repercussions.

Keywords

Choice Ethics IVF Patient experience Reproductive technology 

Research Resources

Primary Sources

    Archival Sources

    1. Countway Library of the History of Medicine, Harvard University, Cambridge, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
    2. Papers of John RockGoogle Scholar
    3. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MarylandGoogle Scholar
    4. Papers of Howard W. and Georgeanna Seegar JonesGoogle Scholar

    Published Primary Sources

    1. Fertility and Sterility (the official journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine)Google Scholar
    2. Colliers Magazine Google Scholar
    3. Look Magazine Google Scholar
    4. The New York Times Google Scholar
    5. Newsweek Magazine Google Scholar
    6. The Washington Post Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

  1. Rene Almeling, Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2011).Google Scholar
  2. Lori Andrews, Between Strangers: Surrogate Mothers, Expectant Fathers, and Brave New Babies (New York: Harper and Row, 1989).Google Scholar
  3. Andrea L. Bonnicksen, In Vitro Fertilization: Building Policy from Laboratories to Legislatures (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  4. Adele Clarke, Disciplining Reproduction: Modernity, American Life Science, and the Problems of Sex (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1998).Google Scholar
  5. Adele E. Clarke, Laura Mamo, Jennifer Ruth Fosket, Jennifer R. Fishman and Janet K. Shim (eds), Biomedicalization: Technoscience, Health, and Illness in the United States (Raleigh, NC: Duke University Press, 2010).Google Scholar
  6. Susan L. Crockin and Howard W. Jones, Jr, Legal Conceptions: The Evolving Law and Policy of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).Google Scholar
  7. Cynthia R. Daniels, Exposing Men: The Science and Politics of Male Reproduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).Google Scholar
  8. Walter E. Duka, M.S. and Alan H. DeCherney, M.D., From the Beginning: A History of the American Fertility Society 1944–1994 (Birmingham, AL: American Fertility Society, 1994).Google Scholar
  9. Robert Edwards, Life Before Birth: Reflections on the Embryo Debate (New York: Basic Books, 1989).Google Scholar
  10. Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe, A Matter of Life: The Story of a Medical Breakthrough (New York: Morrow, 1980).Google Scholar
  11. Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (New York: Crown Publishers, 1991).Google Scholar
  12. Clifford Grobstein, From Chance to Purpose: An Appraisal of External Human Fertilization (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1981).Google Scholar
  13. Susan Markens, Surrogate Motherhood and the Politics of Reproduction (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Margaret Marsh and Wanda Ronner, The Empty Cradle: Infertility in America from Colonial Times to the Present (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  15. Margaret Marsh and Wanda Ronner, The Fertility Doctor: John Rock and the Reproductive Revolution (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008).Google Scholar
  16. Elaine Tyler May, Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  17. Liza Mundy, Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction is Changing our World (New York: Anchor, 1997).Google Scholar
  18. Naomi Pfeffer, The Stork and the Syringe: A Political History of Reproductive Medicine (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  19. Leslie Reagan, When Abortion was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867–1973 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  20. Robert O. Self, All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960s (New York: Hill and Wang, 2012).Google Scholar
  21. Debora L. Spar, The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception (Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, 2006).Google Scholar
  22. Paul Starr, The Social Transformation of American Medicine (New York: Basic Books, 1983).Google Scholar
  23. Elizabeth Siegel Watkins, On the Pill: A Social History of Oral Contraceptives, 1950–1970 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityCamden and New BrunswickUSA

Personalised recommendations