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Title: Your Sperm is Mine! Do Artificial Gametes Change the Ethics of Posthumous Sperm Retrieval and Conception?
Authors: Smajdor, Anna
Keywords: Artificial gametesPerimortem sperm retrievalReproductive autonomyReificationBodily integrity
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Anna Smajdor, "Your Sperm is Mine! Do Artificial Gametes Change the Ethics of Posthumous Sperm Retrieval and Conception?" in: "Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2018) XX/3", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2018, pp. 53-72
Journal: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics 
A number of cases have arisen over recent decades in which sperm has been extracted from
dead and dying men without their prior consent. These extractions are undertaken in
order to allow the man's partner to become a mother, or his parents, to become
grandparents. Currently, the techniques used to perform such extractions are highly
invasive, requiring either the use of an electric probe inserted in the anus to stimulate
ejaculation, or surgical removal of all or part of the testicles. However, the development of
artificial gametes may make it possible to produce sperm from skin cells, in which case the
interventions required are far less invasive. In this paper I consider whether artificial
gametes would offer a morally preferable way of producing sperm from dead or dying men
without their consent. I evaluate the role played by bodily integrity, and reproductive
autonomy in such cases. I suggest that artificial gametes would be less problematic than
current techniques. And I argue that concern for reproductive autonomy does not ground a
right not to become a parent. Nevertheless, I show that, whatever technique is used in order
to derive sperm from dead or dying men, it is rooted in a morally problematic tendency to
reify such men. That is, their bodies become the means to achieving the reproductive ends
of some third party. Thus, even if sperm could be obtained through minimally invasive
techniques, we should still regard such interventions as being a cause for moral concern.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
DOI: 10.13137/1825-5167/22585
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internazionale
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2018) XX/3

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