Fear, Wonder, and Science in the New Age of Reproductive Biotechnology

Scott Gilbert and Clara Pinto-Correia. Foreword by Donna Haraway

Columbia University Press

Fear, Wonder, and Science in the New Age of Reproductive Biotechnology

Pub Date: August 2017

ISBN: 9780231170949

296 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£30.00

Pub Date: August 2017

ISBN: 9780231544580

296 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£30.00

Fear, Wonder, and Science in the New Age of Reproductive Biotechnology

Scott Gilbert and Clara Pinto-Correia. Foreword by Donna Haraway

Columbia University Press

How does one make decisions today about in vitro fertilization, abortion, egg freezing, surrogacy, and other matters of reproduction? This book provides the intellectual and emotional intelligence to help individuals make informed choices amid misinformation and competing claims. Scott Gilbert and Clara Pinto-Correia speak to the couple trying to become pregnant, the woman contemplating an abortion, and the student searching for sound information about human sex and reproduction. Their book is an enlightening read for men as well as for women, describing in clear terms how babies come into existence through both natural and assisted reproductive pathways. They update “the talk” for the twenty-first century: the birds, the bees, and the Petri dishes.

Fear, Wonder, and Science in the New Age of Reproductive Biotechnology first covers the most recent and well-grounded scientific conclusions about fertilization and early human embryology. It then discusses the reasons why some of the major forms of assisted reproductive technologies were invented, how they are used, and what they can and cannot accomplish. Most important, the authors explore the emotional side of using these technologies, focusing on those who have emptied their emotions and bank accounts in a valiant effort to conceive a child. This work of science and human biology is informed by a moral concern for our common humanity.
Impressive in its breadth, Fear, Wonder, and Science in the New Age of Reproductive Biotechnology contains case studies, historical narratives, and ethical conundrums showcasing the advances in our understanding of the basic science of human fertilization and development. Correcting misconceptions that have permeated the mainstream infertility literature, Gilbert and Pinto-Correia write the kind of lucid explanations of these complex technological feats that have probably never reached this readership but should have a long time ago. Katayoun Chamany, New School University
Every book on science and its social uses should be like this one. But Fear, Wonder, and Science in the New Age of Reproductive Biotechnology is probably an unrepeatable marvel. To bring it to pass, a scientist with philosophical inclinations and literary flair has joined up with a novelist with scientific training and a moving and culturally resonant personal story. They have created what may be the most accessible source to date for how humans are made, how the process can be manipulated technologically, and how benign impulses can go awry in the face of biological and social complexities. Stuart Newman, New York Medical College
This pathbreaking book is a milestone, giving us a new way of understanding human fertility, reproduction, and childbirth. Scott Gilbert and Clara Pinto-Correia’s contrasting yet complementary perspectives will educate, enliven, delight, and inform any reader. The insights presented here will enable us to question, break, and move beyond the reigning contemporary paradigms of disempowerment, and find the true empowerment that both men and women so sorely need. Steven Borish, California State University, East Bay
Scott Gilbert and Clara Pinto-Correia come to readers as whole persons in this unusual and much-needed book. . . . Each part of this rich tapestry of stories is woven in an acute consciousness of complex social, personal, and technical histories. Each part requires—as well as nurtures—emotional, intellectual, and sociohistorical intelligence. from the foreword by Donna Haraway
Dynamically weaving hard-core scientific research and heart-wrenching ethnographic storytelling of infertility, Gilbert and Pinto–Correia deftly cast out the spells of our misinformed reproductive history and reveal the pros and cons of our ever-evolving technologies. With fascinating detail, this book sheds light on a more inclusive and awe–inspiring truth of how we, as humans, actually come into being — a process more mutually collaborative then many of us have ever imagined. Replete with historic, philosophic, religious and sociological perspectives, each chapter seems to build one upon another, like pieces of a hologram allowing the reader to witness the greater whole, including the realistic challenges and ethical ramifications of these unstoppable reproductive technologies. This groundbreaking book is a deeply respectful compendium essential in our world today to gain conscious awareness, unveil ethical considerations, inspire reflective choices, and reignite the curiosity and awe of our existence. Joyce Anastasia, author of Extraordinary Leadership During Extraordinary Times
An excellent addition to health, medical, and bioethics collections. Highly recommended. All readers. Choice
Foreword: Making Babies, Making Kin, by Donna Haraway
Preface
Acknowledgments
Part I. The Importance of the Story
1. Conceptual Detox: Returning to Hogwarts to Learn Human Embryology, by Scott Gilbert
2. Stories of Infertility and Its Conquest: The Sisterhood of Bloody Mary, by Clara Pinto-Correia
Part II. Fertilization and Its Discontents
3. Fertilization: Two Cells At The Verge of Death Cooperate to Form a New Body That Lasts Decades, by Scott Gilbert
4. Fertility Rites: Artificial Insemination and In Vitro Fertilization—Their Hopes and Their Fears, by Clara Pinto-Correia
Part III. The Mother and Her Fetus
5. Normal Development and The Beginning of Human Life: Why Scientists Are Being Asked Theological Questions and Why Theologians Are Being Asked Scientific Questions, by Scott Gilbert
6. Technological Motherhood, by Clara Pinto-Correia
Part IV. Improving The Human Condition Through Biology: The Reality and the Fantasy
7. Cloning Animals, Cells, and Genes: Where Did Cloning Come From, and Where Is It Going to Right Now?, by Scott Gilbert
8. Glory Days: My Personal Account of Cloning, by Clara Pinto-Correia
Part V. Epilogues
9. Infertility Wars: How Life Feels After Everything Fails, and, By the Way, How Do We Survive It?, by Clara Pinto-Correia
10. The Human Condition of Fear and Wonder: In Celebration of Bodies, by Scott Gilbert
Appendix: A Field Guide to Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Glossary
Notes
References
Index

Winner, 2019 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

About the Author

Scott Gilbert is the Howard A. Schneiderman Professor of Biology Emeritus at Swarthmore College and a Finland Distinguished Professor at the University of Helsinki. He is the author of the widely used textbooks Developmental Biology (eleventh edition, 2016), Ecological Developmental Biology: The Environmental Regulation of Development, Health, and Evolution (second edition, 2015), and Bioethics and the New Embryology: Springboards for Debate (2005).

Clara Pinto-Correia is a developmental biologist, novelist, historian of science, and professor. She performed some of the pioneering studies of mammalian cloning and has had a longstanding weekly biology program on Portuguese public radio. Her books include The Ovary of Eve: Egg and Sperm and Preformation (1997) and A Maravilhosa Aventura da Vida (The Marvelous Adventure of Life; 2008).