How Do Wealth and Economic Status Play Into the Debate Over Reproductive Technology Options?

September 11, 2023
David Sunnyside

Amid the global proliferation of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), how do wealth and economic status play into the debate over a person’s options? In this article we explore some of the issues relating to this topic, particularly those raised in the recent Report on ART by the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO.

We examine the ways that the “marketplace of the human body” impacts both a person’s access to and use of these technologies, as well as the societal pressure on some couples (particularly in Western societies) to produce their own children through such means. We consider the importance of a balance between “reproductive autonomy” and responsibility towards those born, including promoting research into the potential risks involved in some procedures, especially those related to the commodification of human gametes.

Lastly, we examine the dehumanizing aspects of some of these techniques. In sex selection, for example, it is possible to choose the sex of an embryo in order to avoid passing on a sex-linked disorder such as hemophilia or sickle cell anemia. By treating human life as a "manufactured product" and subjecting it to the arbitrariness of those who bring it into existence, such practices do violence to the dignity of the person.

Finally, we consider the growing tendency to waive the anonymity of donors in a number of countries and the implications that this may have for the rights of those conceived through these methods. We also examine the increasing trend in some countries to permit same-sex couples to conceive using donated gametes.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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