Assisted reproductive technologies and culture change

Marcia C. Inhorn, Daphna Birenbaum-Carmeli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In 1978, the world's first "test-tube" baby was born via in vitro fertilization (IVF). The past 30 years have seen the rapid evolution of many other assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) - some are simple variants of IVF, whereas others bridge the fields of assisted reproduction and human genomics. As ARTs have evolved over time, so have social, cultural, legal, and ethical responses to them. Indeed, ARTs are a key symbol of our times, representing the growing prominence of biotechnologies in the configuration of individual, familial, and collective identities around the globe. This review highlights the scholarship of more than 50 anthropologists who are studying the effects of ARTs in many areas of social life, including the traditional anthropological domains of kinship, marriage, and the family, gender, religion, and biomedicine. Their research bespeaks both the destabilizing and the generative impacts of ARTs at the interface between science and society.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Anthropology
EditorsWilliam Durham, Donald Brenneis, Peter Ellison
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

NameAnnual Review of Anthropology
ISSN (Print)0084-6570


  • Ethics
  • Gender
  • Globalization
  • Infertility
  • Kinship
  • Religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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