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Description - Making Babies by Mary Warnock

The development of new reproductive technologies has raised urgent questions and debates about how and by whom these treatments should be controlled. On the one hand individuals and groups have claimed access to assisted reproduction as a right, and some have also claimed that this access should be available free of charge. As well as clinically infertile heterosexual couples, this right has been claimed by single women, gay couples, post-menopausal women, and couples who wish to delay having children for various reasons. Others have argued that a desire to have children does not make it a human right, and, moreover, that there are some people who should not be assisted to become parents, on grounds of age, sexuality, or lifestyle. Mary Warnock steers a clear path through the web of complex issues underlying these views. She begins by analysing what it means to claim something as a 'right', and goes on to discuss the cases of different groups of people. She also examines the ethical problems faced by particular types of assisted reproduction, including artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization, and surrogacy, and argues that in the future human cloning may well be a viable and acceptable form of treatment for some types of infertility.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780192803344
ISBN-10: 0192803344
Format: Hardback
(204mm x 135mm x 15mm)
Pages: 126
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 18-Jul-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Making Babies by Mary Warnock

Book Reviews - Making Babies by Mary Warnock

UK Kirkus Review » Infertility inflames passions. On all sides, there is anger and despair. There are those who believe that IVF, donor insemination, egg donation and surrogacy are all evil, meddling with the natural order. There are others - mostly the infertile themselves - who see treatment as a right. They demand that it be made readily available and free. In an area fuelled more by emotion and personal experience than reason and expertise, this slim book is welcome for being solid and sensible. Here are some of the questions it poses: on what grounds might a couple be refused assisted conception? At what stage does an embryo become morally significant? Why do homosexuals want children? Are all methods of fertility treatment legitimate? Where will it end? The book is not an argument, but an exposition of what should be argued about. It sets out the limits of the debate, and carefully considers the contributions from all sides. But Warnock, an acclaimed philosopher and Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Committee, does have some forceful statements to make. 'Is there any reason, in principle, why human cloning should not be carried out?' she asks, and finds none. To this controversial statement she adds others: that donors should be identified, and that gay couples and those who have deliberately delayed having children due to their career should be given access to fertility treatment, although not necessarily on the NHS. This powerful book, just over 100 pages, is a paradigm of persuasive argument. Everyone who has any interest in the infertility debate should read it. Review by Dea Birkett (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Mary Warnock

Mary Warnock's work in academic philosophy includes the books Imagination, Memory, and Existentialism. Much of her career was spent at Oxford University, and she ras later Mistress of Girton College Cambridge. She was made a life peer in 1985, and chaired the Committee of Enquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology, whose report formed the basis of legislation in the UK. Her most recent book is her autobiography, Mary Warnock: A Memoir.

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