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The Pursuit of Parenthood

Reproductive Technology from Test-Tube Babies to Uterus Transplants

Margaret Marsh, and Wanda Ronner

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A wide-ranging history of assisted reproductive technologies and their ethical implications.

Finalist of the PROSE Award for Best Book in History of Science, Medicine and Technology by the Association of American Publishers

Since the 1978 birth of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in England, more than eight million children have been born with the help of assisted reproductive technologies. From the start, they have stirred controversy and raised profound questions: Should there be limits to the lengths to which people can go to make their idea of family a reality? Who should pay for treatment…

A wide-ranging history of assisted reproductive technologies and their ethical implications.

Finalist of the PROSE Award for Best Book in History of Science, Medicine and Technology by the Association of American Publishers

Since the 1978 birth of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in England, more than eight million children have been born with the help of assisted reproductive technologies. From the start, they have stirred controversy and raised profound questions: Should there be limits to the lengths to which people can go to make their idea of family a reality? Who should pay for treatment? How can we ensure the ethical use of these technologies? And what can be done to address the racial and economic disparities in access to care that enable some to have children while others go without?

In The Pursuit of Parenthood, historian Margaret Marsh and gynecologist Wanda Ronner seek to answer these challenging questions. Bringing their unique expertise in gender history and women's health to the subject, Marsh and Ronner examine the unprecedented means—liberating for some and deeply unsettling for others—by which families can now be created. Beginning with the early efforts to create embryos outside a woman's body and ending with such new developments as mitochondrial replacement techniques and uterus transplants, the authors assess the impact of contemporary reproductive technology in the United States.

In this volume, we meet the scientists and physicians who have developed these technologies and the women and men who have used them. Along the way, the book dispels a number of fertility myths, offers policy recommendations that are intended to bring clarity and judgment to this complicated medical history, and reveals why the United States is still known as the "Wild West" of reproductive medicine.

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The Pursuit of Parenthood

Margaret Marsh, and Wanda Ronner

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Reviews

Reviews

Margaret Marsh and Wanda Ronner are clear in what they advocate... they are wonderfully level-headed guides.

This book is much more than a medical and technological history of infertility treatment. It is that, but it is also a story of generosity and greed, joy and sorrow, triumph and tragedy, politics and policies, miracles and mistakes. It is a story that is both moving and enlightening.

It is rare that one runs into a book this prescient on what was to be the technology that vanquished barrenness. Epochal if well-grounded, the searing, indeed gripping, narrative remains ever-captivating from prologue to epilogue.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
288
ISBN
9781421429847
Illustration Description
20 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction. The Past as Prologue
Chapter 1. Test-Tube Babies Just around the Corner
Chapter 2. From First Dream to First Baby
Chapter 3. IVF Comes to America
Chapter 4. From Miracle

Preface
Introduction. The Past as Prologue
Chapter 1. Test-Tube Babies Just around the Corner
Chapter 2. From First Dream to First Baby
Chapter 3. IVF Comes to America
Chapter 4. From Miracle Births to Medical Mainstream
Chapter 5. The Elusive Search for National Consensus
Chapter 6. A Lot of Money Being Made
Chapter 7. Beyond Infertility
Chapter 8. Can the Wild West of Reproductive Medicine Be Tamed?
Appendix. Assisted Reproductive Technologies by (Some of) the Numbers
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Margaret Marsh

Margaret Marsh is a university professor of history at Rutgers University.
Featured Contributor

Wanda Ronner, M.D.

Wanda Ronner is a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. They are the authors of The Empty Cradle: Infertility in America from Colonial Times to the Present and The Fertility Doctor: John Rock and the Reproductive Revolution.