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Private Choices, Public Consequences: Reproductive Technology and the New Ethics of Conception, Pregnancy, and Family Hardcover – January 1, 1998

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; First Edition edition (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525942637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525942634
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,155,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This book seeks to explore the complex moral issues raised by reproductive technology, including surrogacy, donor insemination, genetic testing, fetal surgery, and fetal tissue. Fenwick, a writer and lawyer, weaves together the stories of families whose lives have been touched by the issues, related legal decisions, and the results of a survey she conducted to assess public opinion on both the technologies themselves and how they should be regulated. Issues such as the prosecution of pregnant drug addicts are also discussed. Fenwick's background as an attorney is obvious throughout, yet she avoids unnecessary "legalese." Writing for a lay readership, Fenwick does not go into the medical details of these procedures, and for a book on such an emotional topic her voice remains somewhat detached. Her book's strength is in highlighting the complexity of the decisions and demonstrating how ethical, thinking people can come to extremely different conclusions about them.?Eris Weaver, Marin Inst. for the Prevention of Alcohol & Other Drug Problems, San Rafael, Cal.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

The godlike ability to procreate without benefit of mother and father meeting at least once in passionate (or even coolly calculated) intercourse, society's responsibility to disabled or marginally viable infants, and the ethics of surrogacy are among the issues addressed in this exploration of the consequences of making babies circa the year 2000. If reports of such futuristic reproductive technology as implanting embryos in postmenopausal women sets ``your moral compass spinning,'' then attorney Fenwick (Should the Children Pray?, not reviewed) hopes to clarify the questions about, if not the solutions to, such dilemmas. The book is organized in alternating chapters of case histories and analyses of issues ranging from whether the right to have a child is absolute to the use of fetal tissue, and the possible misuses of genetic information. Government regulation is key to many of the concerns. For instance, should a parent who is a drug user be denied the right to have or care for a child? If so, where does regulation about drugs such as heroine and cocaine slide over into regulation about wine, tobacco, and caffeine, also known to affect fetal development? How about the quandaries of surrogacy: Whose child is it? Who is responsible if the child is born defective? If the surrogate is somehow disabled by the pregnancy? Consider the costs of keeping a premature or severely handicapped baby alive for weeks or months, almost routine in neonatal units now--hundreds of thousands of dollars, which might be better spent on prenatal care for mothers. In addition to asking tough questions, Fenwick presents results of a survey that probed public feelings about such reproductive issues and came up with, not surprisingly, ambivalence and uncertainty. Few answers here, but the floor has definitely been thrown open to questions. (8 pages photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Lynda Beck Fenwick is not only an award winning writer but also an attorney, having been licensed in Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina. Lyn married her high school sweetheart, and their careers have taken them to New England, the Southeast, and the Central Plains. Because she loves studying history for the lessons it can teach, Lyn also enjoys genealogy research, which she puts to good use in her current project of writing a history of the exciting years between the mid-1800s through the end of that century. Lyn's book is centered on the life of a homesteader, inventor, agriculturalist, scholar, journalist and political activist named Isaac Beckley Werner. Using Isaac, his neighbors and acquaintances, and the prominent people he knew or mentioned in his daily journal provides a personal perspective to the extensive research Lyn has done about a time with so many similarities to the present--a struggling working class, conflicts about the distribution of wealth, the social impact of technology, and political responses to these issues. She and her husband have restored the turn-of-the-century Victorian farm house built by Lyn's ancestors, and much of her research has been done in the museums, courthouses, and libraries of the area where Isaac lived and Lyn was born and raised. You may follow the adventures of Lyn's research and writing at her blog,

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By on May 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The author's legal background, organization of topics and her approach as a woman to these very complicated modern issues resulting from technhology developments make this an interesting and readable book about issues of our time. The author includes real stories and then explains them in light of legal and technological developments. We are confronted as a society with headlines from time to time that send us back in our communities discussing menopausal births, switched embryos and surrogate rights. This book brings the issues clearly into focus. It is thought-provoking and readable and should be on our bookshelves.
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By A Customer on March 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Having six children and only one with a child, I think this book is a must for all of them to read. They must prepare for the what the future holds in this aspect of their lives. What better way to challenge their moral apathy and knowledge than to read Private Choices, Public Consequences. This book made me aware of all moral sides of many issues on reproduction. I am overwhelmed but completely informed.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Fascinating book about technology's use in aiding reproduction. The author takes us down the road science is paving that is clearly absent moral consideration. One of the most fascinating aspects, though, of the future of technology in reproduction is the coming of an artificial womb that will allow transplants of embryos and fetuses. The implications of this technology on the abortion debate is likely to be staggering. According to the infamous Roe V. Wade ruling, a fetus that can live outside of the mother with the aid of technology is viable, and therefore protectable by law. Fetal transplants, using artificial wombs, will end the violence of abortion in this country. I look forward to the day!
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