The Future of Human Reproduction: transformative agendas and methods for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Year of award: 2021

Grantholders

  • Prof Stephen Wilkinson

    Lancaster University, United Kingdom

  • Dr Kirsty Dunn

    Lancaster University, United Kingdom

  • Prof Sara Fovargue

    Lancaster University, United Kingdom

  • Prof Sharon Ruston

    Lancaster University, United Kingdom

  • Prof Elena Semino

    Lancaster University, United Kingdom

  • Dr Emmanuel Tsekleves

    Lancaster University, United Kingdom

Project summary

Before the end of this century, the ways in which we create babies may alter dramatically. At present, the vast majority of children are created as a result of sexual intercourse, and subsequently pregnancy and childbirth. That may change however as science offers new options.

These include:

- pregnancy and childbirth being partly, or even completely, replaced by an 'incubator' for the developing fetus;

- people being able to create eggs/sperm from bodily cells, like skin cells;

- 'genome editing', which will enable us to select or deselect, to a much greater extent than we can now, the physical characteristics of our future children.

These developments will raise a lot of difficult ethical, legal, and policy questions. This project seeks to help understand these by bringing together experts from very different fields including design, law, linguistics, literature, philosophy, and psychology. Ultimately, this should result in brand new ways of studying emerging technologies.