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7. Discuss some of the anthropological challenges raised by the introduction of NRTs (New Reproductive Technologies)

The never ending discussions and debates about conception, pre- soon hood and kinship influenced by modern technology has raised the anthropological interest in New Reproductive technologies. In fact, in the last two decades developments in this kind of technology have proceeded in an astonishing manner. These developments lead those who are non-specialists in this sector to try and understand this ethically challenging information. This information is very important as it shows us facts about our identity and its origins. Discussions about the ethical, legal and social consequences of these technological assistances to conception lead anthropologists to address the certain cultural dimensions of these fast advances in reproductive and genetic science. The rapid progresses in the genetic and reproductive science lead this field to gain increasing importance not only in the anthropology of science but also in the study of kinship. Anthropologists wanted to explore topics in this significant area by doing ethnographic and theoretical analysis. This rapid progress created also with it, a sense of urgent need to in some manner to constraint what is commonly known as the

implications of this procedure. Various anthropologists such as Peter Riviere claimed that the problems in relation to parenthood caused by these new reproductive technologies are very well-known by anthropologists. On the other hand these NRT s can be compared to traditional forms such as adoption or levirate. Diverse researchers have stressed the distinguishing sets of cultural changes which come along with the arrival of these new types of choices and decisions with are the result of this fast technological change.

This anthropologist uses the background of assisted conception to subvert this contrasting opposition. These NRT s generate new persons but also new forms of knowledge and connections.The rapid progresses in the genetic and reproductive science lead this field to gain increasing importance not only in the anthropology of science but also in the study of kinship. It also illustrates us some of the problems created by the NRT s as it highlights some aspects of diverse presumptions of the traditional kinship theories. these implications of the new reproductive technologies create various considerable challenges. Sequentially she says that these amalgamation effects demonstrate the diverse cultural specificity of the Euro-American knowledge practices. Kinship appeared as a fundamental theme into relation to the NRT s not only because the traditional anthropological knowledge in this area is perceived to offer a suitable and useful terminology for this study of social and cultural dimensions of NRT s. Even though Schneider had put forward that the American kinship system can be conceived in terms of symbolic distinction where there is a contrast between the order of blood ties and that of marriage. In the genetic research done by Rayna Rapp one can notice the theme of genetic counseling as there are different contexts of interpretation in the meeting between the clinicians and the patients. These domains can be regarded as the human being and society and nature and culture. In brief words this anthropologist states that the public debates regarding the NRT s concern only the natural ideas which are than modified since they are supported by technology. Strathern offers a quite different speculation. in order that she demonstrates that kinship is a mixture of apparently diverse domains. makes an analysis in which she criticizes David Schneider s explanation of kinship. Surely decision-making in this kind of counseling is a tough choice. Obviously. The British anthropologist Strathern. the clinician needs to be very careful when he is explaining the scientific .

Rebecca Dresser in her research Designing Babies says that these NRT s could concern not only these genetically modified embryos but also their offspring. Dresser questions herself whether other interventions in this sector will decrease the ethical justification for human testing. She also questions whether the decision-making process in this sector could not only be appropriate for the subject doing the intervention or also the future generations which are the result of these interventions. this highlighted the worth significance of biodiversity and genetics. As in recent years advances in research in this sector have advanced. In her article she shows how human testing represents numerous ethical and practical problems. In diverse cultures studies about assisted conception have shown that anthropological debates about reproduction are used to place the conflict with infertility and its relation to well-known gender codes and tradition in different cultures. The American studies about IVF show us important points of stability and differences. plant and unicellular reproduction. she highlights the need to pay more attention when one is testing human embryos which substantially are expected to become children. Reports about new reproductive technology show it s increasingly importance which even intersects with studies of new genetics. These problems are very serious and . Dresser states that these technologies could offer also implications in the relationship between mother and child and it could also produce some social inequalities. Obviously.information to those couples. which in most of the time are ignored. Other ethnographic research has shown that these technologies have altered the real meaning of the gift of life . She stresses the importance of the ethical issues. This means that studies about reproduction have extended and are now including not only human but animal. Several negotiations have shown that many couples of the upper-classes which cannot have babies pay working-class couples in order to be their substitutes.

Ethics and Human Research. Dresser highlights some important questions such as what would investigators do with does embryos which undergo experiments. No 5. It is also probable that they would have some germline effects which could affect the descendants of these children. An additional feature that one has to notice about this type of research is the ethical feature. this type of research could make it more prone for humans to be affected by sickness rather than a real health benefit since we are still in an early phase of experimentation. Vol 26. or discarded. Dresser also talks about the important topic of PGM s (pre implantation genetic modification) these are modifications that are done in early embryos which are done with the intention to concern a future child. Designing Babies: Human Research Issues . substantially lengthen the study period. and increase the number of subjects needed to complete the study.she specifies that certain issues would happen if the planned human testing is not correctly followed. 2 She also stresses the point and she questions whether it is a good thing for the surviving subjects to be continuously monitored during their lives. Dresser offers some possibilities As in the infertility treatment setting. they we evaluate the problems that these modifications would procure not only to the direct subject but also to its offspring A commitment to evaluate potential effects on direct subjects' descendants would add complexity to the assessment of study risks and potential benefits. donated for laboratory study. No 5. September October 2004 1 . Ethics and Human Research. Vol 26. Dresser Rebecca. Designing Babies: Human Research Issues . 1 According to Dresser. rules would be needed to resolve disagreements over whether embryos should be transferred for gestation. She stresses the importance. September October 2004 2 Dresser Rebecca.

that the parents decide to continue the monitoring on the child till it has appropriate age to decide for themselves. procedure that might Dresser Rebecca. But as Dresser highlights what would happen if the monitored subject is not still alive? Studies in human PGM present us with these demands so that we could decipher future health problems. In this case animal data would be critical information because if it shows the absence of serious negative effects in the subject s offspring one could proceed with these experiments. September October 2004 3 . Anthropologists have to see if genetic tests would provide a diagnostic accuracy so that future parents would know about potential diseases that their child would have Inaccuracies in predicting target conditions would be an ethical problem because PGM research risks would be unwarranted if an embryo had a reasonable chance of developing naturally into a healthy or mildly affected child. It is important that these researchers show us malign effects before and after the subject s birth. Are the parents being too egoistic when they decide to opt for the PGM other than trying adoption or donor gametes "Would you opt for a traumatic . No 5. This could have a great impact on their lives knowing that they in some manner are different from other children. Vol 26. Ethics and Human Research. Another important thing is that subject s have to be monitored over a lifetime so that researchers are sure that there is inheritability stability.Another anthropological challenge is to see whether the existing methods of PGM s are safe enough and effective so that any unintended effect will be evident on later-born children... But there is also a further aspect the prospective parents have the right to implant a fertilize embryo into a woman s uterus even if there is a large risk that the couple would have a disabled child. And is it right. Designing Babies: Human Research Issues . 3 Anthropologists have to face another challenge human PGM would produce diverse difficulties regarding the study procedures.

September October 2004 5 Shore. and probably would do nothing? 4 Obviously these new reproductive technologies changed also the concept of family and parenthood and kinship in current Britain. The assumption that the new reproductive technologies are controversial simply because they threaten established ideals of the family and motherhood is found wanting : instead. This episode presents us a young lady ( 20 years) who was a virgin but still she succeeded in having a baby by artificial insemination. might give you a less happy. what is at issue is the vested interest that all societies have in the symbolic control of fertility and reproduction. less talented child. Ethics and Human Research." The task of anthropological inquiry is to explore their deeper structural and ideological implications. According to Douglas Long episodes like this which have to do with New Reproductive technologies are seen as threatening because they are out of our cultural values and system. No. 295-314. Dresser Rebecca.. The anthropologist Chris Shore uses this episode to highlight diverse issues especially its legal and social implications. Shore offers us a complete different reason why anthropology is very important in this sector. Chris. Vol. 1992). 3 (Jun. Chris Shore in his article "Virgin Births and Sterile Debates: Anthropology and the New Reproductive Technologies" talks about this topic but from a diverse perspective. Virgin Births and Sterile Debates: Anthropology and the New Reproductive Technologies . he sees the whole thing from a political and gender dimensional perspective. 33. might give you a deformed child. This episode challenged the well-known ideas of motherhood and the natural birth. pp.give you a very slightly happier child. 4 ."5 These technologies became very controversial in past years especially after the case of the so-called Virgin Birth scandal. Current Anthropology. Chris Shore takes actual debates regarding fertility control and compares them with ancient anthropological debates which concern traditional beliefs about reproduction. No 5. Vol 26. Designing Babies: Human Research Issues . On the other hand.

Virgin Births and Sterile Debates: Anthropology and the New Reproductive Technologies . Chris.. Current Anthropology. and in vitro fertilization. These NRT's are seen as harming women because they destruct the women's integrity not only in its integrity but also they exploit their pro creativity. one of them is that regarding the legal aspect. He also illustrates the perspective of who is responsible for the gift of life. and what constitutes " legitimate" conception in a given cultural context?". Shore uses feminist writers to illustrate us the point that embryo research meant the loss of identity to women. No. Many anthropologists observed that 6 Shore. leaving aside God. According to Spallone this research which promotes " to improve on nature " in reality is hiding a more important message which says " to improve on women". 33. This anthropologist emphasizes also the legitimation of these conception "There are interesting parallels between these debates and current controversies about embryology. 295-314. Vol. Shore asks himself whether it will be the social mother or the genetic or does the person who had given the sperm possess any right to claim the child as his. . 1992). infertility. 3 (Jun. 6 He says that recently the medical profession entered the debate of who is mainly responsible for conception. who is responsible for it. This anthropologist uses the example of some feminist writers where they ask what would be the impact of these NRT's on women's lives especially in places where women are regarded in terms of their ability of giving birth. Shore with the help of other anthropologists tries to show us the contrasting contradictions between "proper motherhood" and the " natural family". woman the state and the church. In both cases similar questions are raised : When exactly does life occur.Anthropologists like Shore ask themselves if with these NRT's the value of human life is threathed in its sanctity which will eventually lead to a total genetic engineering which will later on arrive at the point of destructing human life. Shore also highlights the consequences of such technologies. pp.

But this case shows us that these new reproductive technologies are creating legislative problems as well. 2002 . Even Jacqueline Campbell in her article I have two mums. This women succeeded in obtaining the permission to undergo ART after a sperm was removed from her husband which was dying. Anthropologists ask whether is it right that one person decides about the future of these sperms once the subject dies. I have two mums. The concept of family changed in a drastic manner. one dad and two parents presents us with the rapid changes and implication that these NRT's brought with them. she challenged law as she wants their father's name on their birth certificate. babies and families will undoubtedly be created in ways not foreseen now by scientists."7 Campbell also mentions the Diane Blood case. Anthropology shows us that in every society there is a general interest to control reproduction especially by powerful institutions like the church and the state. Nowadays. The concept of parent also changed. this rapid social change has meant also a legislative change which is denominated by ethical debates. Nonetheless. nor by the community generally. These New reproductive technologies have created various implications and challenges. one dad and two parents . this episode shows us conception after death.infertility is a real social stigma and not a simple medical problem. Australian Population Association. The debate over NRT s is that 7 Campbell Jacqueline. lawyers and social planners. in fact. not only married couples are having children "In 2020. Ideologies regarding fertility and conception are set in a wider social and economic background. Anthropologists try to study this controversial subject by looking at diverse cultural systems and comparing them with others. Anthropologists showed us that spiritual kinship gains life through baptism as it symbolizes birth but with modern technologies we have the potential to go further the symbolic natural birth.

Anthropology is trying to outline how these rapid changes are changing the fundamental concepts of kinship and Parenthood . .they are being ethical or not. Although NRT s have emerged in the field of anthropoloy the social issues raised by these technologies are far from resolved and they will continue to raise debates as public awareness will make them grow more sophisticated.

No. Australian Population Association. 16.. Anthropology Today. 3 (Jun. 1994) Simpson Bob.. Designing Babies: Human Research Issues . September October 2004 Simpson Bob. Chris. New Series. Vol. 1992). pp.Bibliography: Campbell Jacqueline. 1984 Watt Helen. Ethics and Human Research. Vol 26. The Secret of Life: Bioethics between Corporeal and Corporate Obligations . Vol. 3 (Jun. I have two mums. Imagined Genetic Communities: Ethnicity and Essentialism in the TwentyFirst Century . Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilization and Embryology . Warnock Committee. The Diane Blood Case .. No. 29. 4 (Dec. No. 295-314. Man. 33. Vol. Bringing the Unclear Family into Focus: Divorce and Re-Marriage in Contemporary Britain . 2002 Dresser Rebecca. Virgin Births and Sterile Debates: Anthropology and the New Reproductive Technologies . University of MIT 2009 . The Linacre Centre Zylinska Joanna. one dad and two parents . 2000) Shore. No 5. Current Anthropology.

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