Reproductive Technology

Critics of the scientific establishment, especially religious ones, are frequently dismissed as "Luddites" or "technophobes." What’s the implication? That religious skeptics are woefully ignorant, or, even worse, downright superstitious when it comes to scientific research, and that the religious-based moral critique must not impede scientific advancement. Scientists, according to this fervent faith, know what’s best.

Lori B. Andrews’ The Clone Age: Adventures in the New World of Reproductive Technology demonstrates, however, that skeptics of science’s innate beneficence have good reasons to sound the alarm when it comes to genetic research. And if the skepticism extends to corporate involvement in biotech research and reproductive technology, then let the alarm bell ring until it breaks. Andrews is a law professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law and the director of the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology. She has advised state, federal, and international agencies, and she sat on a committee that reviewed the ethical implications of the government’s Human Genome Project. Few have walked this minefield as carefully, or as thoroughly.

Why is the area of reproductive technology a minefield? In Andrews’ eyes, it is not so much because of the problems that may occur if we proceed down this road. That journey has already begun, she explains, since at least the birth of Louise Brown, the first "test-tube" baby, born through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in England in July 1978. Months before an English doctor had fertilized—in a petri dish—an egg of Lesley Brown with sperm from her husband.

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 2000
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