Anthropological Challenges Raised by New Reproductive Technologies

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  • Topic: Surrogacy, Assisted reproductive technology, Reproduction
  • Pages : 7 (2623 words )
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  • Published : January 15, 2012
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Discuss some of the anthropological challenges raised by the introduction of NRT’s (New Reproductive Technologies).

In the world we live today, technology plays a very important role in the construction of our society. By the means of new technologies, new theories, ideologies and perspectives are being applied to understand social phenomena. Society has gone, and is still going through a new revolution, because technology has changed the way we look at different sectors in our lives, such as in the way we communicate, social institutions, different jobs and so on. In this assignment, I am going to write about new reproductive technologies and the impacts these leave regarding the family unit, as such technologies can change the meaning of what family is, or what the norm of the family used to be. These also challenge fundamental categories about what is natural, the expected roles a person should carry, kinship problems, marriage problems and how it could be affected, childbirth. These bring about questions about what is ethical, what should be legal, and also other philosophical problems. The new reproductive technologies constitute a broad variety of technologies aimed mostly at facilitating the process of reproduction, or even preventing or intervening this process such as by contraceptives and abortion.

New reproductive technologies are being used more and more because of the infertility problem. Couples including an infertile partner seek these technologies as their remedies for their problem. The media started to promote such procedures. Certain studies have shown that the media promotes these technologies as being genius technologies, as if the doctors perform miraculous triumphs. They don’t always involve the mother or father of the child in this medical experience. Examples of new reproductive technologies are super ovulation, in vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination by donor, embryo flushing and transfer, surrogate motherhood and sex predetermination. These are the mostly common used, giving some hope and a possibility to infertile patients to have children.

These procedures are somewhat questioned in a way or another. Such questions involve around practical and ethical problems, as experimenting on human embryos could be dangerous and illegal in such ways as the embryos could be violated in a way. Cris Shore questions also if these reproductive technologies could lead to genetic engineering and if the human life could be destructed by these scientific experiments. The embryos are considered as living humans, even if they are not born yet. Should they be protected from commercial exploitation? Should they have human rights? Is it fair for us people to decide such ‘unnatural’ things? There are also continuous debates regarding the structure of parenthood. Such problems includes the questioning of who should be considered to be the legal parent, if a child is born to a mother who is neither the child genetic nor social mother as for example in the case of surrogacy, what rights should a sperm donor have over children produced by in vitro fertilization, and even if the children should have rights over their genetic parents’ inheritance or successions. Other questions consider women’s lives and their roles in society. Such questions are mostly raised by feminists. How will these technologies affect their lives. Is it healthy for women, physically and mentally to go through such procedures? Feminists also argue that these medical professions are still being dominated by men and they see this as a threat as they use female bodies to experiment on new technologies, plus devaluing the role of women in conception, gestation and birth. Physicians are sometimes seen as controllers of women’s procreative power, as at certain cases like these women are more fragile and therefore would do anything to find a solution for their infertility. All these questions are still being deeply dealt with as there are...
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