Artificial Insemination

artificial insemination, technique involving the artificial injection of sperm-containing semen from a male into a female to cause pregnancy. Artificial insemination is often used in animals to multiply the possible offspring of a prized animal and for the breeding of endangered species. Prepared semen can be preserved for long periods by refrigeration, and it is frequently shipped over great distances.

The method has also been used in humans, when traditional fertilization cannot be achieved (see infertility). It has become a significant issue in recent years, particularly in debates revolving around surrogate motherhood, in which a woman agrees to bear a child for another couple through the use of artificially inseminated sperm from the husband (see surrogate mother). Legal issues have arisen in cases where the surrogate mother decides, upon the birth of the baby, that she wants to keep the child for herself. Likewise, there have been debates over the rights of sperm donors. Other debates on the subject have centered around the ethics of artificial insemination among humans, with critics decrying the practice as a perversion of science or pointing to the possible abuse of the process for purposes of eugenics. See also parent and child.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Encyclopedia of Reproductive Technologies
Annette Burfoot.
Westview Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Twenty-Seven "Artificial Insemination" and Chap. Twenty-Eight "Artificial Insemination Policy"
Legal Issues in Biotechnology and Human Reproduction: Artificial Conception and Modern Genetics
Warren Freedman.
Quorum Books, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Artificial Insemination: Its Role in the Scheme of Reproduction"
Infertility around the Globe: New Thinking on Childlessness, Gender, and Reproductive Technologies
Marcia C. Inhorn; Frank Van Balen.
University of California Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Six "Deciding Whether to Tell Children about Donor Insemination: An Unresolved Question in the United States"
Ethics of New Reproductive Technologies: Cases and Questions
Dolores Dooley; Joan McCarthy; Tina Garanis-Papadatos; Panagiota Dalla-Vorgia.
Berghahn Books, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Donor Insemination: Anonymity, Secrecy and the Right to Know"
Handbook of Parenting
Marc H. Bornstein.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, vol.3, 2002 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Parenting Children Conceived by Donor Insemination" begins on p. 347
The Elusive Embryo: How Women and Men Approach New Reproductive Technologies
Gey Becker.
University of California Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Considering Donor Insemination" begins on p. 135
Procreative Compounds: Popular Eugenics, Artificial Insemination and the Rise of the American Sperm Banking Industry
Daniels, Cynthia R.; Golden, Janet.
Journal of Social History, Vol. 38, No. 1, Fall 2004
Family Values and the New Society: Dilemmas of the 21st Century
George P. Smith II.
Praeger, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Artificial Insemination, Surrogation, and In Vitro Fertilization"
Feminist Approaches to Bioethics: Theoretical Reflections and Practical Applications
Rosemarie Tong.
Westview Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Nonfeminist and Feminist Perspectives on Artificial Insemination and In Vitro Fertilization"
Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology
Jane Haynes; Juliet Miller.
Brunner-Routledge, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "Women's Work: The Practice of Donor Insemination amongst Some Lesbian Women"
Assisted Reproduction in Jewish Law
Sinclair, Daniel B.
Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, November 2002
Consent to Sperm Retrieval and Insemination after Death or Persistent Vegetative State
Strong, Carson.
Journal of Law and Health, Vol. 14, No. 2, Summer 1999
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