Artificial Insemination and the Rights of Women, Men, and Children

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Women have adamantly battled for political and social reproductive rights since, in particular artificial insemination, have become mainstream phenomena in the recent decade with a focus on rights of women. In fact, doctors have experimented with the procedure for nearly a century. However, with the women¹s liberation movement of the 1970s, physician-assisted and self-insemination has become more and more popular among heterosexual career women and lesbians. The Origins of Artificial Insemination She was a Quaker. The wife of a merchant. The infertility patient of Dr. William Pancoast. She was a woman whose name was never recorded. Dr. Pancoast, a professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, had already examined and tested her numerous times. Finally, he discovered that she was fertile and that the problem was her husband¹s;; There were no sperm. Pancoast (or maybe it was one of his students) had an idea. He called her in. He just wanted to examine her once more, he told her. The woman lay on the table as she had been told to do. Pancoast¹s six medical students-all young men- stood around her body. Pancoast anesthetized the woman with chloroform. He took the receptacle into which one of his students had masturbated. With a hard rubber syringe, he inserted the student¹s semen into her uterus. He then plugged her cervix with gauze. When she awoke, he did not tell her what he had done. He never told her. Nine months later, she bore a son. It was 1884. This was the first reported human artificial insemination with donor semen. It was a rape. (Corea, 12) As explained by the above excerpt from The Mother Machine, artificial insemination is not a recent technological breakthrough. The procedure among huma... ... middle of paper ... ...n under the notion that reproductive technologies will ensure conception of a perfect child. If the child is born with a congenital defect or is of the wrong sex, the parents present feelings of disappointment, which is often reflected in the rearing of the child. (Blank) Moreover, parents treat their children as more fragile that other children in their nuclear family conceived by natural means, and tend to be overprotective of him or her. Works Cited Blank, Robert. Human Reproduction, Emerging Technologies, and Conflicting Rights Congressional Quarterly: Washington D.C., 1995. Corea, Gena. The Mother Machine : Reproductive Technologies from Artificial Insemination to Artificial Wombs New York : Harper & Row, 1985. Daniels, Ken R. ³Information Sharing in Semen Donation: The Views of Donors² Social Science & Medicine v. 44 no5 (March 1997) p. 673-80

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