As Rod Dreher points out in his new book, The Benedict Option, the sexual revolution, especially the separation of sex from reproduction that the Pill made possible, posed a deep challenge to traditional Christian ethics–a challenge Christianity has pretty much lost, in law and popular culture. A new book by Stanford Law Professor Henry Greely, The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction, predicts that technology will soon make the separation of sex from reproduction complete. One always has to be a little skeptical about “prophetic scholarship” directed, if the Harvard University Press announcement is to be believed, at readers yet “unborn.” But, if Greely is right, traditional Christian ethics will face even more difficult challenges in the future.
Here’s a description of the book from the Harvard website:
Within twenty, maybe forty, years most people in developed countries will stop having sex for the purpose of reproduction. Instead, prospective parents will be told as much as they wish to know about the genetic makeup of dozens of embryos, and they will pick one or two for implantation, gestation, and birth. And it will be safe, lawful, and free. In this work of prophetic scholarship, Henry T. Greely explains the revolutionary biological technologies that make this future a seeming inevitability and sets out the deep ethical and legal challenges humanity faces as a result.
Developments in genetics and stem cell research are giving rise to new techniques that will vastly improve preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilization (IVF), making sexless reproduction not just possible but cheap and easy—what Greely coins “easy PGD.” The first child born using PGD is now 25 years old, and thousands more are born each year. Advanced by economic, social, legal, and political forces, the emerging science has made the concerns that were once the stuff of science fiction into real problems that our children and grandchildren will face routinely.
Deeply informed by Greely’s command of both science and law, The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction is a book for parents, citizens, and all those, born and unborn, who will face the consequences of a new era of human reproduction.