Current and future issues in assisted reproduction

Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 1996 Dec;6(4):383-7. doi: 10.1353/ken.1996.0047.


The last quarter of the twentieth century has given rise to reproductive technologies and arrangements that in the earlier part of the century could only be dreamed of by the authors of science fiction. We stand in the middle of this reproductive revolution, trying to cope with the developments that have already occurred but with an uneasy sense that the future may be even more complicated ethically than the past and the present. In this brief essay, I will survey recent ethical and public-policy discussions of two reproductive techniques (assisted insemination and in vitro fertilization) and one reproductive arrangement (surrogate motherhood). After distinguishing three phases in the normative debate, I will briefly comment on some of the characteristics of, and continuing ambiguities in, the ethical debate of the past 25 years. At the conclusion of the essay, I will attempt to anticipate three future issues in ethics and reproduction.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Artificial Organs
  • Contracts
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Germ Cells
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • History*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Insemination, Artificial
  • Oocyte Donation
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Preimplantation Diagnosis
  • Public Policy*
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted*
  • Social Change*
  • Societies
  • Surrogate Mothers
  • Tissue Donors
  • United States
  • Women
  • Women's Rights