Increased demand for assisted reproductive technology (ART) and transnational adoption has been propelled by a number of factors, including the development of new technologies and changes in familial form—such as childrearing in second or third marriages; lesbian, gay, and transgendered families; and delays in childbearing and subsequent difficulties in conception—that make ART helpful. Other relevant factors include environmental changes that have negatively affected fertility levels, new levels of transnational migration and interaction that have fueled awareness of babies available for and in need of adoption, and concerns about genetic diseases and disabilities. Effectively, the various imperatives and the desires, both cultural and personal, that the use of ART fosters and responds to, have created a “baby business” that is largely unregulated and that raises a number of important social and ethical questions. Do these new technologies place women and children at risk? Should there be limits on how reproductive technologies are used? How should we respond ethically to the ability of these technologies to test for genetic illnesses? And how can we ensure that marginalized individuals, for example, people with disabilities, women of color, and low-income women, have equal access to these new technologies and adoption practices? These questions and many others on the global social, economic and political repercussions of these new forms of reproduction will be the focus of this year’s Scholar and Feminist Conference.
Conference Opening by Debora Spar, Barnard College and Keynote Address by Sarah Franklin, Lancaster University.
Participants include: Lori Andrews, Chicago-Kent College of Law; Laura Briggs, University of Arizona; Claudia Castañeda, Brandeis University; Wendy Chavkin, Columbia University; Dana-Ain Davis, State University of New York, Purchase; David Eng, University of Pennsylvania; Sarah Franklin, Lancaster University; Faye Ginsburg ’76, New York University; Michele Goodwin, University of Minnesota Schools of Law, Medicine, and Public Health; Rebecca Haimowitz, filmmaker, Made in India; Leith Mullings, City University of New York; Rayna Rapp, New York University; Loretta Ross, SisterSong; Lesley Sharp, Barnard College; Vaishali Sinha, filmmaker, Made in India; Debora Spar, Barnard College; Kalindi Vora, University of California at Berkeley; Faith Wilding, subRosa; and Hyla Willis, subRosa.