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Ectogenesis

  • By: Deirdre M. Condit
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Ectogenesis (from the Greek ecto, outer, and genesis, origin) is artificial reproduction outside the body. An 1883 biology text on pathogenic anatomy introduced the term to describe bacteria that reproduce outside the body. In 1924, J.B.S. Haldane coined the term for human reproduction in his essay, Daedalus: or, Science and the Future.

Haldane's close friend, Aldous Huxley, made ectogenetic reproduction the central theme in his famed 1932 novel, Brave New World. Radical feminist theorist Shulamith Firestone embraced ectogenesis in her 1972 treatise on women's equality, The Dialectic of Sex, arguing that elimination of pregnancy is the only route to women's equality. Images of so-called “babies in bottles” have frequently appeared in advertisements, magazines, and book covers, and ectogenesis continues to be a central theme for many ...

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