Reproductive Ethics


Reproductive ethics is concerned with the ethics surrounding human reproduction and beginning-of-life issues such as contraception, assisted reproductive technologies (e.g., in vitro fertilization, zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ISCI), etc.), surrogacy, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Ethical issues specific to this field include among other concerns the introduction of technology into the reproductive process, distinctions between reproduction and procreation, the potential for abortifacient effects through the use of certain contraceptives, embryo & oocyte cryopreservation, embryo adoption & donation, uterus transplants, mitochondrial replacement/donation interventions; synthetic gametes, the exploitation and commodification of women for reproductive services (i.e., egg donation and surrogacy), and sex selection of embryos or fetuses.



Reproductive Ethics

  • Almond, Brenda. The Fragmenting Family. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Bayer, Steven R., Michael M. Alper, and Alan S. Penzlas, eds. The Boston IVF Handbook of Infertility. 3rd ed. Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press, 2012.
  • Best, Megan. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Ethics and the Beginning of Human Life. (Matthias Media, 2012). ***
  • Brakman, Sarah-Vaughan and Darlene Fozard Weaver, eds. The Ethics of Embryo Adoption and the Catholic Tradition: Moral Arguments, Economic Reality and Social Analysis. New York: Springer, 2007.
  • Campbell, Alison and Simon Fishel. Atlas of Time Lapse Embryology. Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press, 2015.
  • Clark, Rebecca A., Gloria Richard-Davis, Jill Hayes, Michelle Murphy, and Katherine Puchea Theall. Planning Parenthood: Strategies for Success in Fertility Assistance, Adoption, and Surrogacy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.
  • Davis, Dena S. Genetic Dilemmas: Reproductive Technology, Parental Choices, and Children's Futures. New York: Routledge, 2001.
  • Deech, Ruth and Anna Smajdor. From IVF to Immortality: Controversy in the Era of Reproductive Technology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • DeGrazia, David. Creation Ethics: Reproduction, Genetics, and Quality of Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Edwards, Jeanette, Sarah Franklin, Eric Hirsch, Frances Price, and Marilyn Strathern. Technologies of Procreation: Kinship in the Age of Assisted Conception. New York: Routledge, 1999.
  • Evans, John Hyde. Contested Reproduction: Genetic Technologies, Religion, and Public Debate. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010.
  • Ford, Norman M. The Prenatal Person: Ethics from Conception to Birth. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2002.
  • Franklin, Sarah. Biological Relatives: IVF, Stem Cells, and the Future of Kinship. Experimental Futures. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.
  • Gardner, David K., Botros R.M.B. Rizk, and Tommaso Falcone, eds. Human Assisted Reproductive Technology: Future Trends in Laboratory and Clinical Practice. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • Hall, Amy Laura. Conceiving Parenthood: American Protestantism and the Spirit of Reproduction. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008. ***
  • Harris, John, and Soren Holm, eds. The Future of Human Reproduction: Ethics, Choice, and Regulation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Henig, Robin Marantz. Pandora's Baby: How the First Test-tube Babies Sparked the Reproductive Revolution. Woodbury, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2006.
  • Inhorn, Marcia C and Frank van Balen, eds. Infertility around the Globe: New Thinking on Childlessness, Gender, and Reproductive Technologies. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002.
  • “Instruction Dignitas Personae On Certain Bioethical Questions.” Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, September 8, 2008.
  • Islam, Sharmin. Ethics of Assisted Reproductive Medicine: A Comparitive Study of Western Secular and Islamic Bioethics. Herndon, Va.: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2013.
  • Kilner, John F., Paige C. Cunningham, and W. David Hager, eds. The Reproduction Revolution: A Christian Appraisal of Sexuality, Reproductive Technologies, and the Family. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000. ***
  • Mills, Catherine. Futures of Reproduction: Bioethics and Biopolitics. New York: Springer, 2011.
  • Mullin, Amy. Reconceiving Pregnancy and Childcare: Ethics, Experience, and Reproductive Labor (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Public Policy). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Mundy, Liza. Everything Conceivable: How the Science of Assisted Reproduction Is Changing Our World. New York: Anchor, 2008.
  • Nahman, Michal Rachel. Extractions: An Ethnography of Reproductive Tourism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
  • O’Donovan, Oliver. Begotten or Made? Reprint ed. Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • Peters, Philip G. How Safe Is Safe Enough? Obligations to the Children of Reproductive Technology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Rae, Scott D., and D. Joy Riley. Outside the Womb: Moral Guidance for Assisted Reproduction. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2011. ***
  • Rhonheimer, Martin. Ethics of Procreation and the Defense of Human Life: Contraception, Artificial Fertilization, and Abortion. Edited by William F Murphy. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2010.
  • Richards, Martin, Guido Pennings, and John B. Appleby. Reproductive Donation: Practice, Policy and Bioethics. New York: Cambridge University press, 2012.
  • Robertson, John. Children of Choice: Freedom and the New Reproductive Technology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994.
  • Ryan, Maura A. Ethics and Economics of Assisted Reproduction: The Cost of Longing. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2001.
  • Smith, Malcolm K. Saviour Siblings and the Regulation of Assisted Reproductive Technology: Harm, Ethics and Law. Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2015.
  • Steinbock, Bonnie. Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Strong, Carson. Ethics in Reproductive and Perinatal Medicine: A New Framework. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.
  • Wilkinson, Stephen. Choosing Tomorrow’s Children: The Ethics of Selective Reproduction. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Out of Print

  • Alpern, Kenneth D., ed. The Ethics of Reproductive Technology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Becker, Gay. The Elusive Embryo: How Men and Women Approach New Reproductive Technologies. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000.
  • Beller, Fritz K., and Weir Robert F., ed. The Beginning of Human Life. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1993.
  • Cameron, Nigel M. de S., ed. Embryos and Ethics. Edinburgh, Scotland: Rutherford House, 1987.***
  • Coleman, Stephen. The Ethics of Artificial Uteruses: Implications for Reproduction and Abortion. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004.
  • Cohen, Cynthia B. New Ways of Making Babies: The Case of Egg Donation. Medical Ethics. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • DeMarco, Donald. Biotechnology and the Assault on Parenthood. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991.***
  • Dooley, Dolores and Panagiota Dalla-Vorgia. The Ethics of New Reproductive Technologies: Cases and Questions. Berghahn Books, 2003.
  • Evans, Debra. Without Moral Limits: Women, Reproduction, and Medical Technology. Wheaton: Crossway, 2000. ***
  • Fenwick, Lyn. Private Choices, Public Consequences: Reproductive Technology and the New Ethics of Conception, Pregnancy, and Family. New York: Dutton Adult, 1998.
  • Gosden R. Designer Babies: The Brave New World of Reproductive Technology. London: Victor Gollancz, 1999.
  • Harwood, Karey A. The Infertility Treadmill: Feminist Ethics, Personal Choice, and the Use of Reproductive Technologies. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
  • Hildth, E and D. Mieth (eds). In Vitro Fertilisation in the 1990s: Towards Medical, Social, and Ethical Evaluation. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 1998.
  • Hui, Edwin C. At the Beginning of Life: Dilemmas in Theological Bioethics. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002. ***
  • O'Donovan, Oliver. Begotten or Made? Human Procreation and Medical Technique. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. ***
  • Rae, Scott B. Brave New Families: Biblical Ethics and Reproductive Technologies. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996. ***
  • Rae, Scott B. The Ethics of Commercial Surrogate Motherhood: Brave New Families? Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994. ***
  • Stewart, Gary P., William Cutrer, Timothy J. Demy, Donal P. O’Mathuna, Paige C. Cunningham, John F. Kilner, and Linda K. Bevington. Basic Questions on Reproductive Technology: When Is It Right to Intervene? Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1998. ***
  • Waters, Brent. Reproductive Technology: Towards a Theology of Procreative Stewardship. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2001. ***

Genetic Selection & Reprogenetics

See the Genetic Ethics Bibliography, particularly the "Reproductive Genetics Section."


  • Cook, Rebecca, Bernard Dickens, and Mahmoud Fathalla. Reproductive Health and Human Rights. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Crockin, Susan L., and Howard W. Jones, Jr. Legal Conceptions: The Evolving Law and Policy of Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.
  • Daar, Judith. Reproductive Technologies and the Law. 2nd ed. Dayton, OH: LexisNexis, 2013.
  • Hashiloni-Dolev, Yael. A Life (Un)Worthy of Living: Reproductive Genetics in Israel and Germany (International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine). Netherlands: Springer, 2007.
  • Karpin, Isabel and Kristin Savell. Perfecting Pregnancy: Law, Disability, and the Future of Reproduction. Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Kindregan, Charles P., Jr. and Maureen McBrien. Assisted Reproductive Technology: A Lawyer’s Guide to Emerging Law and Science. 2nd ed. Chicago: American Bar Association, 2012.
  • Melo-Martín, Inmaculada de. Making Babies: Biomedical Technologies, Reproductive Ethics, and Public Policy. Netherlands: Springer, 1998.
  • Simonstein, Frida, ed. Reprogen-Ethics and the Future of Gender. New York: Springer, 2009.
  • Spar, Debora. The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2006.

Reproduction and Women's Health (Egg Donation, Surrogacy, Involuntary Sterilization, Experimental Nature of Infertility Treatments)

  • Baruch, Elaine, Amadeo F. D’Adamo, and Joni Seager. Embryos, Ethics, and Women’s Rights: Exploring the New Reproductive Technologies.  New York: Haworth Press, 1988.
  • Callahan, Joan C., ed. Reproduction, Ethics, and the Law: Feminist Perspectives. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • Clarke, Adele E. Disciplining Reproduction: Modernity, American Life Sciences, and the Problems of Sex. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
  • Duden, Barbara. Disembodying Women: Perspectives on Pregnancy and the Unborn. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993.
  • Field, Martha A. Surrogate Motherhood: The Legal and Human Issues. Cambridge, MA: First Harvard University Press, 1990.
  • Flavin, Jeanne. Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women’s Reproduction in America. New York: New York University Press, 2009.
  • Gingsburg, Faye D. and Rayna Rapp, eds. Conceiving the New World Order: The Global Politics of Reproduction. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1995.
  • Gostin, Lawrence O. Surrogate Motherhood: Politics and Privacy. Medical Ethics. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990.
  • Gupta, Jyotsna. New Reproductive Technologies, Women’s Health and Autonomy: Indo-Dutch Studies on Development Alternatives. Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications, 2000.
  • Kukla, Rebecca. Mass Hysteria: Medicine, Culture, and Mothers’ Bodies. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.
  • Lauritzen, Paul. Pursuing Parenthood: Ethical Issue in Assisted Reproduction. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1993.
  • Lay, Mary M., Cynthia Myntti, Laura J. Gurak, and Clare Gravon. Body Talk: Rhetoric, Technology, Reproduction. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.
  • Layne, Linda L. Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Account of Pregnancy Loss in America. New York: Routledge, 2003.
  • Macklin, Ruth. Surrogates and Other Mothers: The Debates over Assisted Reproduction. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.
  • McCarthy, Brendan. Fertility and Faith: The Ethics of Human Fertilization. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997.
  • Meredith, Sheena. Policing Pregnancy: The Law and Ethics of Obstetric Conflict. Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2006.
  • Meyer, Cheryl. The Wandering Uterus: Politics and the Reproductive Rights of Women. New York: New York University Press, 1997.
  • Morgan, Lynn M. and Meredith Wilson Michaels, eds. Fetal Subjects: Feminist Positions. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.
  • Petchesky, Rosalind, Karen Judd, and IRRRAG, eds. Negotiating Reproductive Rights: Women’s Perspectives across Centuries and Cultures. New York: Zed Books, 1998.
  • Purdy, Laura Martha. Reproducing Persons: Issues in Feminist Bioethics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996.
  • Ragoné, Heléna and France Winddance Twine, eds. Ideologies and Technologies of Motherhood: Race, Class, Sexuality, Nationalism. New York: Routledge, 2000.
  • Rapp, Rayna. Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America. New York: Routledge, 2000.
  • Raymond, Janice G. Women as Wombs: Reproductive Technologies and the Battle over Women’s Freedom. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.
  • Roberts, Dorothy. Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty. New York: Pantheon Books, 1997.
  • Rodin, Judith and Aila Collins eds. Women and New Reproductive Technologies: Medical, Psychosocial, Legal, and Ethical Dilemmas. Hillsdale, NJ: Psychology Press, 1991.
  • Schoen, Johanna. Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005.
  • Sclater, Shelley Day. Surrogate Motherhood: International Perspectives. Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, 2003.
  • Simonstein, Frida, ed. Reprogen-Ethics and the Future of Gender: International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine. New York: Spring Publishing, 2009.
  • Teman, Elly. Birthing a Mother: The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2010.
  • Thomas, Lynn M. Politics of the Womb: Women, Reproduction, and the State in Kenya. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, Ltd., 2003.
  • Tubert, Silvia, and Anthony Molino, ed., and Mariano Peyrou, trans. Women without a Shadow: Maternal Desire and Assisted Reproductive Technologies. London: Free Association Books, 2000.
  • Twine, France Winddance. Outsourcing the Womb: Race, Class, and Gestational Surrogacy in a Global Market. New York: Routledge, 2011.
  • Wang, Guang-zhen. Reproductive Health and Gender Equality. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2010.
  • Wilkinson, Stephen. Bodies for Sale: Ethics and Exploitation in the Human Body Trade. New York: Routledge, 2003.


  • "Donum Vitae" [an exposition of the Roman Catholic position]. Origins 16, no. 40 (19 March 1987): 698-710. ***

For related materials, also consult the Disability Ethics, Genetic Ethics, and Women's Health Bibliographies.

*** Designates Christian Resource

Position Statement