Are new reproductive and genetic technologies racing ahead of a society that is unable to establish limits to their use? Have the "new genetics" outpaced our ability to control their future applications? This book examines the case of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), the procedure used to prevent serious genetic disease by embryo selection, and the so-called "designer baby" method. Using detailed empirical evidence, the authors show that far from being a runaway technology, the regulation of PGD over the past fifteen years provides an example of precaution and restraint, as well as continual adaptation to changing social circumstances. Through interviews, media and policy analysis, and participant observation at two PGD centers in the United Kingdom, Born and Made provides an in-depth sociological examination of the competing moral obligations that define the experience of PGD.
Among the many novel findings of this pathbreaking ethnography of reproductive biomedicine is the prominence of uncertainty and ambivalence among PGD patients and professionals--a finding characteristic of the emerging "biosociety," in which scientific progress is inherently paradoxical and contradictory. In contrast to much of the speculative futurology that defines this field, Born and Made provides a timely and revealing case study of the on-the-ground decision-making that shapes technological assistance to human heredity.
"The book is a source of valuable messages; it provides enlightening perspectives on the political, moral and ethical aspects of PGD and highlights intriguing philosophical questions.... Born and Made: An Ethnography of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis will constitute a valuable resource for professionals working in a variety of disciplines converging on the multidisciplinary field of assisted reproduction; at the same time, the book will benefit those who consider, or are referred for, assisted reproduction techniques."--Richard A. Stein, TRENDS in Endocrinology and Metabolism
"Born and Made is the first full-length qualitative study of preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Using the methods of cultural studies and ethnography, Franklin and Roberts observe a London hospital laboratory that delivers this service to couples whose genetic history is fraught with dead children, miscarriages, and infertility. This is a compelling story of science in action."--Rayna Rapp, New York University
"Franklin and Roberts provide an innovative analysis of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) through an ethnographic account of scientists, clinicians, genetic counselors, and patients. The everyday stories in this book will disprove popular fears that PGD will usher in a 'brave new world' of 'designer babies.' In Born and Made, readers will discover new languages for discussing the transformative sociologies of reproductive technology."--Stefan Helmreich, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Table of Contents:
List of Figures ix
Introduction: Babies by Design? 1
Chapter 1: What Is PGD? 25
Chapter 2: Studying PGD 75
Chapter 3: Getting to PGD 94
Chapter 4: Going Through PGD 132
Chapter 5: Moving On from PGD 163
Chapter 6: Accounting for PGD 196
Conclusion: PGD Futures? 218