Week 2 Summer Accelerated Class M.S. Student Responses: Technology and Reproductive Dilemmas

By Z.

Procreation is a natural phenomenon. However, for more than last three decades ‘procreation’ and ‘childbearing’ have become a technological affair at the transnational level. The advances in genetic and reproductive technology (ARTs) have opened up worldwide awareness regarding new possibilities in the field of fertility and contraception for women. It is not wrong, if Barbara Katz Rothman says that through ‘gene therapy’ people are “playing God” by taking hold over life and death. In this manner, technologies enable us to control the reproductive conditions and boundaries. In the field of new reproductive technologies, we shall be looking at ARTs as well as reproduction in hired/traded bodies like, Genetic testing or prenatal diagnosis, Donor insemination (DI) and In vitro fertilization (IVF), Test tube insemination, Surrogacy, are known as reproduction aiding technologies whereas Abortion, Contraception, Sterilization, are recognised as reproduction controlling technologies. These technologies have come to define motherhood, fatherhood and family in a new way, through which infertile couples have been given a new hope and the chance to have children according to their own choices and those who don’t want, have the option to live without having one.

Recently, in one of the exception cases of child birth has been recorded in the history of medical science and technology. A 32 years old woman named Maya Sharma (changed name) who was willing to have a baby had discovered that she had ‘genetically 95% male’ chromosomes in her body. After three years of ARTs treatment procedures, she has given birth to twins babies in Meerut, India on 9 Feb 2015. According to infertility specialist Dr. Sunil Jindal[1]this is something similar to a male delivering twin”. The mother has diagnosed “Flabbergasted” or ‘XY gonadal dysgenesis’ in which women’s external characteristics appears as female while their internal reproductive organs like uterus, ovaries and genital areas are not mature for conception. Through the help of hormonal and endocrinal genetic treatment doctors successfully developed her infertile uterus and by using IVF and Donar eggs they transplanted it in her uterus for pregnancy.

It seems as reproductive consciousnesses and freedom where women have gained the freedom to choose and reject their motherhood. It also challenges the patriarchal dominant structure of society in which women are not free to exercise their reproductive choices. However, sometimes these technological benefits raise numerous moral dilemmas and questions for the mothers, their families, others and promotes hierarchical structure of the society where women’s essential role is to give birth and take care for their families. In the case of Maya, she desired to become a mother despite having 95%male chromosome in her body and technologies helped her to achieving this goal but still the success rates of these technologies are 50-50. Furthermore, if the embryo or sperms are donated by other person, there is a possibility of genetic imbalance and disorder and it may affect future life of a child. These technologies are so expensive and promoting birth market and baby manufacturing factories which create inherent class biasness in the society. It has been observed that in some cases it affect mother-child and father-child relationships, child can be married with his genetic siblings or his genetic mother can anytime claim for her child.

As understanding of these complexities we can conclude that although genetic and reproductive technologies have opened up the door of wider possibilities in order to provide choices for motherhood but whatever is provided may not necessary be ethically and emotionally justified.




The MOM Art Annex (FL) is a certified 501c3 designated non profit, connecting Students, Women, Men, M/others and Families through Reproductive Identities, Music, Art, Activism and Education for Cultural, Economic & Social awareness. By creating, producing and presenting visual, literary, educational, academic, performing arts exhibits that celebrate, nurture and support individuals with a special emphasis on identity, experience, and community, MOM acts as a safe space for healing and illumination. We create unique opportunities for people that they might not otherwise have; free of age, race and socio-economic barriers.

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Posted in Reproductive Technologies, Summer Accelerated Class '15

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