Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Culture Change
Posted: 7 Jun 2008
In 1978, the world's first "test-tube" baby was born via in vitro fertilization (IVF). The last thirty years have seen the rapid evolution of many other assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), some simple variants of IVF, while others bridge the fields of assisted reproduction and human genomics. As ARTs have evolved over time, so have social, cultural, legal, and ethical responses to them. The major theme of this essay is the extent to which the ARTs are leading to culture change. ARTs ramify in many areas of social life, including the traditional anthropological domains of kinship, marriage and the family, gender, religion, and biomedicine. This review highlights the prolific scholarship of more than fifty anthropologists studying ARTs around the globe. Their research bespeaks both the destabilizing and generative impacts of ARTs at the interface between science and society.
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