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THE CLONE AGE by Lori Andrews


Adventures in the New World of Reproductive Technology

by Lori Andrews

Pub Date: May 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8050-6080-4
Publisher: Henry Holt

A disturbing but insightful look at the brave new reproductive world that is dawning. Anyone assuming civilization isn’t poised at an important crossroads will think otherwise after reading this book. Andrews (Black Power, White Blood, 1996), director of the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, has been involved in just about every legal and ethical debate surrounding the murky, evolving world of reproductive technology since the first test tube baby was born—on the day Andrews passed her bar exam, by the way—and she knows it’s complicated territory. She offers insights on cloning, in vitro fertilization, selling sperm and eggs, and selective genetics, in which parents can decide which babies to carry full-term. At one point Andrews poses as a woman interested in choosing sperm from a Nobel-winning scientist via Robert Klark Graham’s Repository for Germinal Choice. Graham believes that a putative general decline in intelligence could be stemmed if the “more able” simply had more babies. Minor glitch: Andrews is single, and Graham’s services are limited to married women. “I need your legal skills,” he tells her. “Come up with a rule where I can give sperm to you, but not have to give it to an unmarried black woman.” In the same chapter Andrews notes the lack of public health regulations stipulating how sperm must be stored. Remarks one California lawyer about Graham’s operation: “If I wanted to open a sperm bank in the deli next to the pastrami, there would be nothing to stop me.” This scary scenario only grows more plausible as Andrews demonstrates that reproductive law and funding are governed more by political expediency than rational thought. Remarkably free of techno-jargon, this fascinating premillennium primer cautions readers about the many legal and ethical potholes awaiting those who venture into such uncharted territory.