Hastings Law Journal


Lisa C. Ikemoto


This article takes the ongoing debate about whether and how procreative technologies should be regulated, and goes beneath it. Starting with the characterization of procreative technology as infertility treatment, this article explores three primary sets of norms constituting that characterization-fertility, technology, and family. The analysis is an attempt to map the interconnecting discourses of fertility, technology, and family, and so, proceeds in a non-linear manner.

Professor Ikemoto begins by exploring the edges of public discussion about acceptable procreative technology uses. That is, she first questions public responses to uses that have provoked controversy, from the first 'test-tube baby' to the use of 'egg donation' to enable black women to bear white children. She then moves to the comfortable center of the discourses, where the characterization-procreative technology as infertility treatment-lies. This is where images of medical technology and marriage-based family predominate.

From there, Professor Ikemoto begins to map the links between the images of women identified as infertile and the images used to reinforce particular gender, race, class, and sexual orientation boundaries. The mapping of the connections between the infertile, the too fertile, and the dysfertile reveals two significant identity positions. One is the wedge, which is used to maintain status boundaries premised on gender, race, class, and sexual orientation. The other, the prism, is potentially subversive of those boundaries. In revealing the underside of the debate about procreative technology regulation, this article attempts to reframe the questions being asked, and to do so in a way that shifts women to the subject position within the debate.

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