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Reproduction NOW

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

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Reproduction NOW is a panel exploring fertility and reproduction. It is time to take stock. Have promises been delivered? Where have we ended up? What future do we face?  

The IVF generation is perimenopausal. It is time to take stock. Have promises been delivered? Where have we ended up? What future do we face? What is ‘Reproduction NOW’?

Join us to hear three Birkbeck speakers, and to put your questions and share your thoughts. These are our speakers:

Dr Sam Ashenden (Politics)
In recent years, ideals of reproductive autonomy have combined with new developments in medical technology to open up the possibility of parenthood to new groups. Involuntary childlessness has been rephrased as infertility; a problem potentially amenable to technical solutions. In addition, new forms of family, and in particular same-sex couples’ desires to parent children, combined with the growth of the idea that family implies genetic connection and the decline in babies available for adoption, has brought new meanings and a new emphasis to the importance of having an ‘own’ child. All of these changes are occurring within a growing global market in reproductive services. This talk examines the biopolitics of an imperative reading of the title: reproduction NOW!

Dr Isabel Davis (English, Theatre and Creative Writing)
We look set to live with uncertainty and the unknown for the foreseeable future, whatever we tell ourselves about our superiority to the past on reproductive knowledge. This talk examines the cultural history of pregnancy uncertainty: how was the unknown managed in the past, what can we learn from historical example, how does the past relate to Reproduction NOW?

Grace Halden (English, Theatre and Creative Writing)
As more women are choosing to become solo parents through gamete donation, the ways in which conception is discussed in fertility clinics is changing. No longer do clinics only treat infertility, they also provide alternate pathways for fertile women (same-sex couples and solo parents) to create families. Yet the ability to access private reproductive assistance is not available to all and has led to an increase in unregulated ‘informal’ sperm donations which carry significant risks. The NHS provides fertility assistance to couples but rarely to solo women, how can reproductive assistance be fairer for all? This talk asks who is able to access reproduction now? 

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