University home

Reproductive Technologies

Human embryo revealing the inner cell mass, by Wellcome Images
Assisted reproductive technologies enable reproductive desires to be fulfilled but raise many philosophical questions about reproduction itself.

This research area examines the ethical implications of new and emerging assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Current ART practices include IVF, gamete donation, surrogacy and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis; emerging technologies which are likely to have an impact on this area in the future may include in vitro gametogenesis from germ cells and stem cells, genetic modification of embryos (including gene therapy) and ectogenesis (in vitro gestation). The use of ART enables the fulfilment of reproductive desires and may in time permit humans to direct their own evolution. However, ART raises numerous questions about the processes used and about reproduction itself: is it always ethically acceptable to make use of ART? Who should have access to these technologies? What impact might ART have on society, particularly conceptions of parenthood and family? We consider the ethical aspects of using ART as well as the social implications of law and regulation in this area.

Researchers working in this area include: