Millions of children have been born in the United States with the help of cutting-edge reproductive technologies, much to the delight of their families. But alarmingly, scarce attention is paid to the lax regulations that have made the U.S. a major destination for fertility tourism. And without clear protections, the unique rights and needs of the children of assisted reproduction are often ignored. In BABIES OF TECHNOLOGY, University of California, Berkeley, professor Mary Ann Mason and writer Tom Ekman ask the pressing questions that have come up with the growing population of children born through reproductive technologies. Do children created with donor eggs or donor sperm have a right to know the identity of their donor, or how to find any half-siblings? If a child can have up to five parents, who is that child’s mother or father? Who has a right to call that child a member of their own family? With technologies like CRISPR/Cas9 coming to the forefront, will designer children—created through the selective splicing and editing of genes—become the norm? Should human genetic engineering be banned?
Mason and Ekman take the reader through a range of novel considerations that are rife with controversy. In the United States—which has a long history of denying children’s rights—these are especially challenging problems. Donor anonymity prevents millions of children from knowing their genetic origins. Fertility clinics market genetically enhanced babies. Young women freeze their eggs for later in life. More women carry multiples to term, which has major medical and health implications. And Third World women rent their wombs to the rich. In each of these cases, the implications for the child are serious, and Mason and Ekman argue that we must move now to protect their rights and interests.