Friday, April 13, 2012

Fertility: emotions, ethics, efficiency?

What kinds of fertility interventions can/should be legal?  What kinds should be covered by insurance? Europe is not united on this issue...

There are interesting things to consider here: the angst of the barren woman, a harsh term; the opportunities created by medical science advances; the costs of new medical technologies; the ethical and social issues (who deserves to have a child?); the commodification of reproduction.

And I'm reminded of a passage from Isaiah -- and my haftarah: "Rejoice of barren, you who have not given birth.  Break into a song and cry aloud,you who have not been in labor.  For the children of the abandoned are more numerous than the children of the married wife, says God."  Sorry, Isaiah and sorry God.  That's poppycock.  Even at 13 I knew that the woman who wanted children but could not have them would not rejoice.

But now that we have technologies that overcome some of the limits of an individual woman's body, should we put limits on those technologies?  There is a lot I find completely unproblematic -- unqualified good things.  I do find myself feeling rather squeamish about the commodification aspects -- rented wombs, in particular.  And when the provision of reproductive bodily service involves differences of class, ethnicity, and even nationality, I begin to think about the colonized female body...

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