Over the last three decades or so, social scientists have followed assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) on routes of routinisation and globalisation, examining their development by clinicians and scientists as well as their impact on the daily lives of involuntarily childless couples in different cultural and socio-economic contexts. Recently, similar attention has been directed at selective reproductive technologies (SRTs) as these continue to be routinised and globalised as clinical-laboratory practices.
This website brings together the different elements which make up a three-year research project funded by the Sapere Aude Young Researcher programme of the Danish Independent Research Council. Further to enabling an ethnographic study of sperm banking practices in China entitled “Exchanging ‘good’ life”, the project aims to invigorate the momentum surrounding social studies of SRTs around the world through two international conferences and a researcher exchange programme between China and Denmark.
What are Selective Reproductive Technologies?
Although they often rely on similar techniques to those used in assisted reproduction and will often overlap, it is important to distinguish between these forms of reproductive technology: while ARTs aim to overcome biological obstacles to ‘natural’ reproduction, SRTs aim to prevent or allow the birth of certain ‘kinds of children’;.
Selective reproductive technologies:
- comprise of specific laboratory and clinical techniques which facilitate the selective fertilisation of gametes, implantation of embryos or abortion of foetuses;
- encompass practices of e.g. counseling, carrier testing, gamete donor screening, gamete and embryo quality assessment/biopsy, ultrasonography, blood chemistry analysis, amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, karyotyping, genetic testing and/or induced abortion;
- generate deliberations and negotiations about whether (and if so how) to begin, terminate or continue a pregnancy;
- are used by individuals and governments to prevent or promote the birth of certain ‘kinds of children’ (e.g. a child suffering from ‘serious disease’, a healthy child, an intelligent child, a male child, a saviour sibling).