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    This paper imagines what the liberatory possibilities of (full) ectogenesis are, insofar as it separates woman from female reproductive function. Even before use with human infants, ectogenesis productively disrupts the biological paradigm underlying current gender categories and divisions of labour. I begin by presenting a theory of women's oppression drawn from the radical feminisms of the 1960s, which sees oppression as deeply rooted in biology. On this view, oppressive social meanings are overlaid upon biology and body, as artefacts of culture and history. I then argue that ectogenesis should be pursued to replace two modes of assisted gestation that can be seen as outgrowths of oppressive assumptions about women's function, ectogenesis should be pursued to replace two modes of assisted gestation. These are gestational surrogacy and uterine transplant, which arise partly from gendered, pronatalist, and geneticist norms. These practices are supported by assumptions about women's identity and value. Pursuing technologies such as ectogenesis, which weaken the presumed link between biology and gender, is beneficial to (trans-inclusionary radical) feminist aims, as part of a broad project of challenging dominant power relations resting on and maintaining gender categories. By allowing the conceptual separation of female reproductive function from 'woman', ectogenesis raises questions about how we determine who counts in this gender identity, and also how we value those who claim the identity 'woman'. I conclude that ectogenesis has the potential to challenge traditional patriarchal family structures, and thence all other male-dominated structures (of work, education, cultural production), allowing a reimagining of the family and society in more radical ways than we have yet achieved. © 2020 The Authors. Bioethics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

    Citation

    Kathryn MacKay. The 'tyranny of reproduction': Could ectogenesis further women's liberation? Bioethics. 2020 May;34(4):346-353


    PMID: 31943247

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