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5 million miracle babies later: the cultural legacy of ivf?

eröffnungsvortrag zum workshop „ivf as global form

Sarah Franklin (BIOS-Centre, London School of Economics)

Thursday, June 12, 2008, 6.15 pm
Institut for European Ethnology Berlin
Mohrenstraße 40/41, Raum 311, 10117 Berlin

The 30th birthday of Louise Brown provides an important occasion to revisit the cultural legacy of IVF – a technique that has gone from being novel, threatening and revolutionary to being normal, unremarkable and ubiquitous in a relatively short period of time. Practised worldwide, and allegedly responsible for as much as 3% of the birthrate in some countries, IVF has proven to be a popular and successful technique, resulting in the births of more than 5 million children. But how do we assess the cultural legacy of IVF in terms of how we model the relationship between technological innovation and social change? While the stigma of reproduction ‚by design‘ more commonly attaches to PGD, it is arguably IVF that has done more to change ideas about kinship, reproduction and genealogy than any other form of
assisted conception. In a nutshell, ‚the facts of life‘ have become redesignable. The somewhat unexpected legacy of IVF, in the form of the biological reserve of stored human embryos now available for stem cell research, is but one measure of the as-yet ill-defined question of the true extent to which IVF has altered not only ‚who we think we are‘ but ‚who we think we might become‘ in the future.

Informationen zum Votrag und zum Workshop „IVF as Global Form“ finden Sie auf der Website des SFB 640.

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