DESIGNS ON LIFE by Robert Lee Hotz


Exploring the New Frontiers of Human Fertility
Email this review


 Hotz, science writer and editor for The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution, fascinatingly explores human reproduction and the new technology. The author gives his story high emotional impact by focusing on an infertility clinic where would-be parents ride the roller coaster of hope and despair and where embryologists manipulate the very stuff of life. But there's much more here than human drama. Hotz looks at what's been happening in human embryology since the birth of the first test-tube baby about a dozen years ago. It's a field unregulated and unfunded by the federal government, a legal void in which ethicists, biologists, judges, and legislators struggle with questions of right and wrong, responsibility and risk, privacy and public policy. Issues undreamed of a few years ago (Are embryos human beings or property? Whose claim to parenthood is greater, the genetic mother's or the birth mother's?) have made their way into dozens of courtrooms across the country, and ever-more complex questions are likely to arise. The abortion debate, with its differing views on the question of when human life begins, complicates the picture, hampering the research that could make technology- assisted conception safer and easier. Hotz wends his way deftly through this tangle, offering no solutions but pointing out problems society must recognize and deal with. A highly skilled writer, Hotz has done his research well and made the technology and its practitioners come alive: a noteworthy addition to the literature on reproductive choice.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1991
ISBN: 0-671-69325-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1991