Test Tube Families: Why the Fertility Market Needs Legal Regulation

Test Tube Families: Why the Fertility Market Needs Legal Regulation

Test Tube Families: Why the Fertility Market Needs Legal Regulation

Test Tube Families: Why the Fertility Market Needs Legal Regulation


Drawing on a variety of interdisciplinary debates in cultural studies and contemporary theory, Modernism, Inc. provides a new look at the relationship between modernism and postmodernism within the critical frame of twentieth-century American culture.

Organized around the idea of "incorporation"--embodiment, repressed memory, and advanced capitalism-- Modernism, Inc. covers a wide range of topics: Josephine Baker's "hot house style"; the president's penis in American political life; myth-making and the Hoover Dam; trauma, poetics, and the Armenian genocide; feminist kitsch and the recuperation of North America's "Great Lady painters"; Gertrude Stein and Jewish Social Science; the Reno Divorce Factory and the production of gender; Andy Razaf and Black Bolshevism. Collectively, the essays suggest that the relationship between the modern and the postmodern is not one of rupture, belatedness, dilution, or extremity, but of haunting.

Modernism, Inc. looks at our ghosts, and at the unspeakable secrets of modernity from which they're derived.

Contributors: Maria Damon, Walter Kalidjian, Walter Lew, Janet Lyon, William J. Maxwell, Cary Nelson, John Timberman Newcombe, David G. Nicholls, Thomas Pepper, Paula Rabinowitz, Daniel Rosenberg, Marlon Ross, Jani Scandura, Kathleen Stewart, Julia Walker.


The creation of families—legally, emotionally, and functionally— has always fascinated me both personally and professionally. This book explores the creation of technological families, the processes by which biology, medicine, human determination, and the law bring babies into being. Although some of what we now think of as the reproductive technologies, such as artificial insemination, have existed for centuries, others have only come into being over the past several decades or years—or months. Indeed, during this book's gestation, the technology for freezing human eggs has, for example, become far more efficient and effective, and the first embryo bank opened—and closed—for business. Writing about such a rapidly changing field is exciting, challenging, and intimidating.

Consequently, what I have tried to do is to examine the fundamental legal issues that underlie reproductive technology, issues that will not change even as the technology transforms how we think of the means of reproduction. So long as we have families, we will want to determine who the parents are. So long as children have questions about their origin, issues surrounding the identity of their biological progenitors will arise. and whenever we deal with technology, we will have concerns about the safety and regulation of that technology, and the protection of those individuals who engage with it. This triptych of legal issues—defining families, forming identities, and regulating markets—provides the framework for this book.

Over the years, as I have struggled to develop conceptions of family relationships, I have explored these topics with numerous colleagues, friends, and family members. Thank you to June Carbone, Martha Ertman, Tony Gambino, Michele Goodwin, Joan Hollinger, Helena Michie, Mary Lyndon Shanley, Jana Singer, and Bob Tuttle. Without Debbie Gershenowitz, my editor at nyu Press, this book would not exist. Her hand appears on every page. I would also like to thank Rachel Hull for her perceptive independent study paper and her permission to use it; my research assistants, Kathie Carroll, Alexis Chapin, Talita Kiper, Kristalyn Loson . . .

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