J Med Ethics 11:188-195 doi:10.1136/jme.11.4.188
  • Research Article

The products of conception: the social context of reproductive choices.


This paper addresses the changing ideology regarding reproduction, an evolving American, and potentially worldwide, value system regarding children and parenthood. Children are increasingly being seen as products, and the new technology of reproduction, including the sale of reproductive material and services and especially prenatal diagnosis and selective abortion, encourage this commodification of the fetus. While the new technology does indeed offer new choices, it also creates new structures and new limitations on choice. In the contemporary American social structure, these choices are inevitably couched in terms of production and commodification, and thus do not offer individuals genuine choice or control.