Hot Topics: Reproductive Medicine

Blog Posts (51)

March 4, 2014

Tampering With Evolution? "Three Parent Embryos"

by Maurice Bernstein, MD

Babies are born with  a progressive neurometabolic disorder with a general onset in infancy or childhood, often after a viral infection, but can also occur in teens and adults. …

February 26, 2014

Intersextion: Germany Allows Parents to Choose “No Sex” on Birth Certificate

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In Jeffrey Eugenides Pulitzer-Prize winning novel Middlesex, readers are introduced to a protagonist, Cal Stephanides, who is male with female traits.…

February 23, 2014

Who Causes Fetal Harm and Who Is Blamed?

<p>There is a cultural perception that women are very likely to cause fetal harm, reflected in limitations on women’s participation in clinical trials and certain jobs, public service announcements telling women not to drink alcohol while pregnant, and extensive media coverage of ‘‘crack babies.’’ The long history of the medical realm treating women’s bodies as weak, permeable, and inherently diseased contributes to the worry that women’s bodies will ‘‘infect’’ fetuses. Men’s bodies, in contrast, are as seen as stable, bound, and healthy; therefore, they are not a risk to fetuses. However, this belief is scientifically inaccurate. Men’s behaviors and characteristics can cause paternal-fetal harm. For instance, paternal smoking and drinking can result in an increased chance of birth defects and low birth weight. Paternal use of illegal drugs (such as cocaine, hashish, opium, and heroin) can also lead to fetal health problems because of abnormal sperm. Additionally, older paternal age has been associated with a higher risk of children with autism, Down syndrome, and schizophrenia.  </p> <p>Despite these scientific facts, there is little public and academic discussion of men and fetal harm, which implies that men do not (or cannot) cause such harm. The cultural narrative that men are not causally or ethically responsible for fetal harm has been reified in law, policy, medicine, and the media.  Even the language we use to discuss reproduction and childcare minimizes the role men play in reproduction. The verb “to father” is synonymous with ‘‘to sire’’ and refers to impregnating a woman, that is, the one time event of fertilization. In contrast, “to mother” refers to constant caregiving and nurturing. </p> <p><strong style="color: #34405b; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 20px;">The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our <a style="color: #000099; text-decoration: underline;" href="">website</a>.</strong></p>
January 21, 2014

Building the Better Baby

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In the 1997 film GATTACA, a couple anxious to have a child sit down with their doctor.…

January 17, 2014

Wombmates in Wisconsin

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Women of Wisconsin better make some room as they are about to have some visitors: Their  in-laws may come to spend time in their uterus.…

December 4, 2013

When Religion Trumps Medicine

by Arthur L. Caplan, PhD

Imagine that you were in a terrible car accident and suffered a huge loss of blood.…

July 25, 2013


Sabine Hildebrandt, MD
William Seidelman, MD
Arthur Caplan, PhD

A recurring assertion in the ongoing debate on abortion in the United States is the statement that pregnancy is an uncommon consequence of rape.…

June 21, 2013

Why Don’t We Talk More About the Hard Stuff

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This blog is one I have been thinking about writing for a while, but feared to do so out of concern of social stigma and reprisals.…

May 9, 2013

Magical NC Bill Builds Obstacles to Teen Health

Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

If you’re a teen in North Carolina, a new bill before the legislature may make it more difficult for you to get sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, mental health counseling, pregnancy care or even substance abuse treatment.…

May 6, 2013

“Donor Dad” or “Gene”? The Language of False Hopes and False Expectations

Nanette Elster, JD, MPH

With Mother’s Day rapidly approaching, I can’t help but reflect upon my own journey to motherhood, which began as a solo endeavor with an anonymous sperm donor due to an infertility diagnosis at 30. …