Cover image for Designing babies : the brave new world of reproductive technology
Designing babies : the brave new world of reproductive technology
Gosden, R. G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : W.H. Freeman, [1999]

Physical Description:
ix, 260 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
RG135 .G67 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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No other subject in science today provokes more controversy than human reproduction and genetics. Our increasing ability to manipulate fertility and shape our genetic destiny raises many questions -- both practical and ethical -- and creates hope and fear for the future in equal measure.In Designing Babies, reproductive expert Roger Gosden provides a compelling overview of this biological revolution. In clear, non-technical language, he explains the science that is emerging and addresses the many social and ethical dilemmas involved. He also offers a startling look into a future when women will be able to choose not only the number and timing but also some of the characteristics of their children. Genetic screening, repair of embryos, cloning, sex selection, and egg freezing are some of the technologies that will become familiar early in the new millennium. Designing Babies explores these and other issues intelligently, with an open-minded and nonprejudicial approach toward the dangers and benefits that such scientific advances might bring.For better or worse, the human race has co-opted science and technology in its powerful dr

Author Notes

Roger Gosden is research director in reproductive biology at the School of Medicine at McGill University

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gosden's distinguishes itself among a large group of similar books by including many literary anecdotes and allusions, making it more a literary and philosophical work than a technical manual. One intriguing demonstration of his medical history knowledge is the description of an eighteenth-century museum exhibit of fetal quintuplets, a relatively unknown example of multiple pregnancy. Gosden worked for a time with Robert Edwards, the original test-tube-baby doctor, so he is "old in the field." He covers the expected types of artificial reproductive methods, setting them in cultural, scientific, and chronological contexts. He is easy to read and shows a refreshingly progressive attitude in urging that research in all areas continue. --William Beatty

Publisher's Weekly Review

Whenever we contemplate advances in reproductive technology, "the interests of children should always be uppermost," contends Gosden (Cheating Time), a reproductive biologist and medical doctor. In this slim, enticing volume, Gosden presents a conglomeration of evolutionary biology, basic population genetics, scientific history and rudimentary human physiology, along with an overview of various techniques in assisted reproductive technology, some actual and some fanciful, including in vitro fertilization, cryopreservation of ovaries, attempts at separating male from female sperm, cloning and the creation of artificial wombs. Throughout, Gosden holds that we have nothing to fear from any of these possibilities since none can ever become the dominant form of human reproduction. Many, however, have already improved the quality of life for individuals previously unable to conceive or bear children. Gosden argues that governments have become far too involved in regulating the field of assisted reproduction, largely out of ignorance and misplaced fear. Further, he maintains that in a world where travel among various jurisdictions is easy, regulation is doomed to fail, so doctors and patients should be able to undertake any procedure that is apt to lead to the creation of healthy new lives. Though many will certainly take issue with some of his points, Gosden's lively, clear prose and his knack for explicating complex procedures make his book as enjoyable as it is informative. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

With so much information available about reproductive technology, we may question the need for two more books on this topic; however, this rapidly changing field and the tremendous number of ethical issues surrounding it make continuous updating necessary. Both of these books provide good, though brief, overviews of recent advancements and issues related to reproductive technology, including in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, artificial wombs, male pregnancy, and cloning. Andrews, a professor at Chicago-Kent Coll. of the Law and director of the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology, is a recognized legal expert on these difficult issues and has served as an adviser to the U.S. National Bioethics Advisory Commission. Her book provides numerous cases that illustrate the social, ethical, and political implications of this fast-moving, minimally regulated industry. It is difficult to find a truly balanced account of these controversial issues in any one book, and these books are no different. Andrews concentrates on the legal and social aspects, while Gosden (reproductive biology, Univ. of Leeds) provides a medical researcher's viewpoint. While both authors write in an informal lay style, the glossary and list of suggested readings in the Gosden book are a helpful addition for readers who are new to the field. High school and college students will find the Andrews book particularly useful for "hot topics" papers. Both books are recommended for public or undergraduate collections.ÄTina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. v
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Prologuep. 1
1 The Myth and the Monsterp. 9
Abominable Creationp. 11
Hope and Anxietyp. 14
Instruments of Creationp. 23
2 The Precious Childp. 31
The K Clubp. 33
Grieving Rachelp. 38
What Price the Priceless Child?p. 46
Less Is Morep. 50
3 The Pursuit of Perfectionp. 57
Well-Bornp. 59
Celebration of Variationp. 68
Stone Age Legacyp. 78
Cupid's Arrowp. 86
4 Playing Godp. 95
Getting the Picturep. 97
Picking the Bestp. 108
Hitting the Bull's-Eyep. 115
Gilding the Lilyp. 125
5 Keep Out the Clonesp. 133
Hello Dollyp. 135
Nature's Own Clonesp. 144
Human Hatcheriesp. 147
Unity or Diversity?p. 152
6 Sex Selectionp. 159
Sons and Daughtersp. 161
Striking a Balancep. 165
The Dream Screenp. 170
X Certificatep. 174
7 Other Wombsp. 179
Mother's Nestp. 181
Surrogate Wombsp. 187
Devoted Fathersp. 193
Babies in Bottlesp. 197
8 Never Too Late?p. 205
Having It Allp. 207
Methuselah's Caviarp. 216
Banking on the Futurep. 222
9 Reproductive Libertiesp. 229
Glossaryp. 243
Further Readingp. 247
Indexp. 255