THE MOTHER MACHINE: Reproductive Technologies from Artificial Insemination to Artificial Wombs by Gena Corea

THE MOTHER MACHINE: Reproductive Technologies from Artificial Insemination to Artificial Wombs

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Corea, author of an early, all-out attack on male medical domination (The Hidden Malpractice: How American Medicine Mistreats Women, 1977), here argues that the new reproductive technologies--from artificial insemination to embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization, and surrogate motherhood--represent male efforts to further control women, to manipulate them into motherhood. In what she calls the foreground, Corea places medical questions (""how can the maturation quality of eggs be improved before they are suctioned out of women's ovaries during surgery?""), legal questions (""who is liable if this or that goes wrong?""), and societal questions (""Does the fee paid to the surrogate mother constitute, for federal tax purposes, compensation or rental income?""). More important to Corea is what she calls the background: the political/social context in which the technologies are developing. ""Just as the patriarchal state now finds it acceptable to market parts of a woman's body (breast, vagina, buttocks) for sexual purposes in prostitution and the larger sex industry, so will it soon find it reasonable to market other parts of a woman (womb, ovaries, egg) for reproductive purposes."" In discussing the varied reproductive and related technologies (including sex determination), Corea gets off some well-grounded warnings (e.g., on the risks of in vitro fertilization, and patients' ignorance of them). But many will find the argument specifically fallacious (the alleged nefarious motives of all male researchers, the alleged universal preference for boys) and broadly overstated, as well as overwrought.

Pub Date: April 24th, 1985
Publisher: Harper & Row