[NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE!] A Stanford professor of law and genetics is maintaining that within as few as twenty years, the connection between sex and procreation will come to an end. No longer will sex have anything to do with reproduction. According to Henry T. Greely, reproductive engineering will be such that men will donate sperm and women a patch of skin, whereupon babies will be produced to order in artificial wombs. Government health plans will no longer be able to afford caring for sick babies, so “designer babies” will become the norm.
Recreational sex will continue, he says, but why? Won’t virtual-reality pornography finish that off too?
Prof. Greely has a book about all of this coming out from Harvard University Press entitled The End of Sex and the Future of Reproduction.
Prof. Greely seems to assume that there will be no more Catholics in 20 years, or other Christians who agree with them about nature and natural law.
Within twenty, maybe forty, years most people in developed countries will stop having sex for the purpose of reproduction. Instead, prospective parents will be told as much as they wish to know about the genetic makeup of dozens of embryos, and they will pick one or two for implantation, gestation, and birth. And it will be safe, lawful, and free. In this work of prophetic scholarship, Henry T. Greely explains the revolutionary biological technologies that make this future a seeming inevitability and sets out the deep ethical and legal challenges humanity faces as a result.
Developments in genetics and stem cell research are giving rise to new techniques that will vastly improve preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilization (IVF), making sexless reproduction not just possible but cheap and easy―what Greely coins “easy PGD.” The first child born using PGD is now 25 years old, and thousands more are born each year. Advanced by economic, social, legal, and political forces, the emerging science has made the concerns that were once the stuff of science fiction into real problems that our children and grandchildren will face routinely.
Deeply informed by Greely’s command of both science and law, The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction is a book for parents, citizens, and all those, born and unborn, who will face the consequences of a new era of human reproduction.
For a colorful news story on the subject with more details, see this.