Pandora's Baby by Robin Marantz Henig
How the First Test Tube Babies Sparked the Reproductive Revolution

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On a September morning in 1973, a hospital administrator in New York City learned of a rogue experiment in progress at his institution, and he ordered the removal from an incubator of a test tube containing a frothy mixture of human eggs and sperm. Had the experiment been allowed to continue, it might have resulted in the first human fetus created through in vitro fertilization. In Pandora’s Baby, the award-winning journalist Robin Marantz Henig tells the story of that confrontation, which ushered in a new era in reproductive technology. She takes us back to the early days of IVF, when the procedure was viewed as crackpot science and its pioneers as outsiders in the medical world. Henig lays out the ethical and political battlefield of the 1970s -- a battlefield that is recreated with each new technology -- and traces the sea change that has occurred in the public perception of “test tube babies.” It is a human story, of men and women grappling with the moral implications of a scientific discovery: researchers, couples yearning for babies, hospital administrators, and bioethicists. Through these people Henig brings to life the argument made most forcefully against IVF in the early days: that it was the first step down the slippery slope toward genetic engineering, designer babies, and human clones. Even though this argument is worrisome and antiprogressive, Henig says, many of its most scary prophecies seem to be coming true.
Pandora’s Baby is a compelling story from the not-so-distant past that brilliantly presents the scientific and ethical dilemmas we confront ever more starkly as germ-line engineering and human cloning become possible.

About Robin Marantz Henig

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Robin Marantz Henig is the author of eight books. Her previous book, The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She writes about science and medicine for such publications as the New York Times, Scientific American, and Seed. She and her husband, who have two daughters, live in New York City
Published February 6, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 336 pages
Genres: History, Computers & Technology, Nature & Wildlife, Parenting & Relationships, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Indeed, within ten years after abruptly halting an IVF procedure, the defendant in the above lawsuit went on to become director of an IVF clinic.

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In her judicious history of the development of in vitro fertilization (IVF), NBCC finalist Henig (The Monk in the Garden ) notes that many of the objections posed to IVF in the 1970s would later be used against human cloning, in particular the argument that artificial reproduction interfered in i...

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