© 2018

Selective Reproduction in the 21st Century

  • Ayo Wahlberg
  • Tine M. Gammeltoft

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Ayo Wahlberg, Tine M. Gammeltoft
    Pages 1-24
  3. Sex Selection

  4. Preventing Disease and Disability

  5. Selecting Traits

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 193-198

About this book


This book explores how conditions for childbearing are changing in the 21st century under the impact of new biomedical technologies. Selective reproductive technologies (SRTs) - technologies that aim to prevent or promote the birth of particular kinds of children – are increasingly widespread across the globe. Wahlberg and Gammeltoft bring together a collection of essays providing unique ethnographic insights on how SRTs are made available within different cultural, socio-economic and regulatory settings and how people perceive and make use of these new possibilities as they envision and try to form their future lives. Topics covered include sex-selective abortions, termination of pregnancies following detection of fetal anomalies during prenatal screening, the development of preimplantation genetic diagnosis techniques as well as the screening of potential gamete donors by egg agencies and sperm banks. This is invaluable reading for scholars of medical anthropology, medical sociology and science and technology studies, as well as for the fields of gender studies, reproductive health and genetic disease research.


reproductive technologies medical anthropology medical sociology reproductive health abortion preimplantation genetic diagnosis

Editors and affiliations

  • Ayo Wahlberg
    • 1
  • Tine M. Gammeltoft
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

About the editors

Ayo Wahlberg is a professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is the recipient of two prestigious research grants, from the Danish Council for Independent Research (2011-2014) and the European Research Council (2015-2020). 

Tine M. Gammeltoft is a professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Her book, Haunting Images: A Cultural Account of Selective Reproduction in Vietnam, won the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize & AES Senior Book Prize.

Bibliographic information


“This unique and ground-breaking volume defines a new field of “selective reproduction,” in which novel reproductive technologies and techniques allow for the birth of some children, but not others. Rich case studies from around the world make clear both the hopes and anguish of reproductive selection, particularly for women as potential parents. Together, these chapters pose major questions about the role of law, bioethics, and population policy making amidst the haunting specter of neo-eugenics. Selective Reproduction in the 21st Century should be essential reading for many audiences—social scientists of reproduction, bioethicists, disability rights scholars and activists, and the reproductive medicine community itself.” (Marcia C. Inhorn, Yale University, USA)