Commerce and Regulation in the Assisted Reproduction Industry

By Robertson, John A. | Texas Law Review, February 2007 | Go to article overview

Commerce and Regulation in the Assisted Reproduction Industry


Robertson, John A., Texas Law Review


Commerce and Regulation in the Assisted Reproduction Industry THE BABY BUSINESS: HOW MONEY, SCIENCE, AND POLITICS DRIVE THE COMMERCE OF CONCEPTION. By Debora L. Spar.[dagger] Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2006. Pp. xix, 299. $26.95.

The ability to extract human eggs, fertilize them in a dish, and place resulting embryos in the uterus has fascinated and bothered people since the first in vitro fertilization (IVF) birth in 1978. The assisted reproduction field has grown phenomenally since then with over two million births worldwide. The technology has opened the door to egg donation, gestational surrogacy, embryo screening, and other variations on traditional ways of forming families.

Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and their many variations are now firmly ensconced within the medical care system. In 2003, there were over 120,000 cycles and 35,000 births annually in the United States1 and perhaps 200,000 births throughout the world.2 These technologies are avidly sought by persons unable to have children and present an attractive career alternative for obstetrician-gynecologists.

ARTs raise both ethical and health policy issues. The ethical questions involve the status and control of extracorporeal embryos, the technologization of family and reproduction, and the ability to recombine genetic, gestational, and social parentage. They have spawned a vast literature and much popular interest, with the latest extension or dispute often generating extensive news coverage.

The health policy issues are less sexy but just as important. These concern the high cost of the procedures and lack of access, the risk that children will be born with congenital defects, and the effects on parenting and the family. A related issue is whether more direct regulation is needed for this field.

With two or more decades of experience with these technologies, most of the ethical, legal, and policy issues raised by ARTs have now been thoroughly aired, though new variations on old issues continue to arise. Some form of ART exists in most developed countries, but some jurisdictions are more strict than others about regulation and the menu of accepted or prohibited procedures. Fertilization outside of the body will continue to present offspring legal status and filiation conundrums. But the main legal and ethical questions have been resolved to the extent that assisted reproductive services are now provided to a large extent as are other medical services in a jurisdiction. It is fair to say that reproductive technologies have been "naturalized" as a standard way for people with fertility problems to find relief.3

Some people still wonder whether we have proceeded too fast in accepting technological control over conception. They fear that we have paid insufficient attention to the effect of separating and recombining the genetic, gestational, and social aspects of reproduction on children, families, and, indeed, the human narrative.4 Others are concerned about extensions of ARTs to nontraditional families, such as single men and women or gay and lesbian couples. Still others are bothered by the prospect of extensive preimplantation genetic selection and manipulation, which external access to the embryo makes possible. As a result, new controversies will arise as new techniques come on line and new uses are made. Despite its naturalization, the use or regulation of reproductive technology will continue to occupy public and professional attention for some time to come.

Debora Spar is a new entrant in the marketplace of ideas about this phenomenon. The director of research at the Harvard Business School, she offers a general, industry-wide approach to infertility treatment as a commercial enterprise. Important for Spar is the claim that treating infertility involves the "business" of buying babies, hence her title The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Commerce and Regulation in the Assisted Reproduction Industry
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.