Americans and Assisted Reproduction: The Past as Prologue

  • Margaret MarshEmail author


In 2010, the venerable in vitro fertilization (IVF) pioneer Howard Jones used the occasion of his 100th birthday to recommend that his younger colleagues adopt a bold new research agenda, including reproductive cloning (‘somatic reproduction’) and foetal gestation in artificial uteri (‘exogenesis’). Most couples, he argued, desire genetically related offspring; these technologies could provide them. Seemingly straight out of dystopian fiction, for Jones these techniques were simply unconventional means to a time-honoured end. Such attempts to ‘normalize’ new reproductive technologies are not new but date back to the earliest days of research into human IVF. This chapter explores the history of IVF in the context of today’s controversies over new varieties of assisted reproduction, providing a nuanced understanding of what has become a deep divide in the way we understand such technologies, as both vehicles to accomplish a ‘traditional’ objective – having a much-desired child – and as alien, and alienating, interventions with negative long-term repercussions.


Choice Ethics IVF Patient experience Reproductive technology 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityCamden and New BrunswickUSA

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