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In Vitro Fertilization and the Embryonic Revolution

In Vitro Fertilization and the Embryonic Revolution
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Author(s): D. Gareth Jones (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 14
Source title: Handbook of Research on Technoethics
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Rocci Luppicini (University of Ottawa, Canada) and Rebecca Adell (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-022-6.ch039


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The advent of in vitro fertilization (IVF) marked a watershed in the scientific understanding of the human embryo. This, in turn, led to a renaissance of human embryology, accompanied by the ability to manipulate the human embryo in the laboratory. This ability has resulted in yet further developments: refinements of IVF itself, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, the derivation and extraction of embryonic stem cells, and even various forms of cloning. There are immense social and scientific pressures to utilize the artificial reproductive technologies in ways that have little or no connection with overcoming infertility. As the original clinical goals of IVF have undergone transformation ethical concerns have escalated, so much so that they are condemned by some as illustrations of ‘playing God’, while any babies born via some of these procedures are labelled as ‘designer babies’. Both terms reflect the fear and repugnance felt by some at the interference with the earliest stages of human life by the artificial reproductive technologies. It is at these points that bioethical analyses have an important contribution to make.

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