Jul 11th 2016

Making Babies in the 21st Century (FutureLearn)

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Explores the new reproductive technologies, the opportunities they provide, and the profound social challenges they pose. This course looks at six different areas of assisted reproduction and explores both the science and the impact they are having. The course is structured as a journey, taking as its starting point a person or couple wanting to conceive and using these types of technologies to who want to make a baby but can’t do so , due to their infertility, advanced age, sexuality or lack of partner.

Understand the choices that surround assisted reproduction

As soon as anyone decides to use reproductive technology to help them to have biological offspring, they are often confronted with a dizzying array of choices and dilemmas:

- to have a sperm or egg donor;

- to choose a known or an anonymous donor;

- to test the fetus for genetic abnormalities;

- to use a surrogate (and, if so, in an ethical way);

- to test the embryo or baby for genetic abnormalities;

- and whether to use new technologies that allow genome editing

All of these issues pose urgent ethical challenges. But who decides what’s right or wrong? Who is potentially harmed? And how is this changing our society?

Explore the challenges posed by reproductive technology

Making Babies in the 21st Century will look at human reproduction in an age where reproductive technology is becoming the norm, exploring the social, ethical and legal challenges that currently confront us. The course will enable you to:

- explore how technology is changing the way babies are made and how family life is constructed;

- appreciate the key ethical dilemmas that these new technologies bring;

- and gain awareness of the social aspects of the relevant ethical challenges

Learn with UCL’s Institute for Women’s Health

The course has been created by Dr Dan Reisel, a research associate and clinical research fellow in Women’s Health at UCL.

The content of the course grows out of the ethics teaching at the Institute for Women’s Health, and brings together clinicians, scientists, patient advocates and students interested in the ethical and social implications of the new reproductive and genomic technologies.