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Article
December 28, 1994

Children of Choice: Freedom and the New Reproductive Technologies

Author Affiliations

University of Colorado Denver

 

by John A. Robertson, 281 pp, $29.95, ISBN 0-691-03353-6, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1994.

JAMA. 1994;272(24):1956. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520240084051

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Abstract

This book is a valuable boost to the perpetual effort of society to overtake and accommodate new technology, specifically that affecting reproduction. Professor Robertson has produced in his characteristic way a well-referenced evaluation that is consistent and coherent although not without controversy. The analysis subjects seven technical interventions to scrutiny through the "lens of procreative liberty."

Robertson is the first to admit that the majority of reproduction will continue in the accustomed way, but he notes that an irrevocable change has occurred in the nature of human reproduction. Technology continually adds to choice in whether (and when) to procreate, continue a pregnancy after conception, attempt to overcome infertility, widen the collaborative character of reproduction beyond the traditional father and mother couple, genetically shape offspring (and how far to go to prevent harm to those in utero), and use reproductive capacity for nonreproductive purposes such as fetal tissue transplantation.

He asserts

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