SCIENCES

Designing Babies: How Technology Is Changing the Ways We Create Children

Oxford Univ.. Oct. 2019. 360p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780190054472. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780190054496. MED
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In explaining the deeper, complex medical and bioethical issues underlying the burgeoning industry of assisted reproduction, Klitzman (Psychiatry, Coll. of Physicians and Surgeons, Joseph Mailman Sch. of Public Health, Columbia Univ.: Am I My Genes?) blends personal experience, original research, and international comparisons in order to compose a wide-ranging and vividly informative analysis. Chapters describe the affected population, including unconventional pairings as well as their reproductive choices from egg donation to embryo selection, how patients select doctors and vice versa, and associated stressors such as finances, support systems, and spiritual concerns. The author projects future developments and advocates various reforms to the current laissez-faire U.S. system. In particular, egg donation risks, the need for standards and oversight, and the creation of a central registry of donors are emphasized. Social costs and the rights of offspring are also considered. Current medical protocols are competently described, but the book’s focus on bioethical and psychological issues suggests that it will not become outdated quickly despite rapid changes in technology such as the application of CRISPR techniques.
VERDICT Well-researched and rigorous yet highly readable, this study of reproductive liberty will assist patients on their journey through the infertility maze and enlighten general readers about this ever-changing industry.

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