an egg being artificially inseminated

In just 20 years, most people in developed countries won’t have sex to procreate. That’s what Stanford law professor and bioethicist Hank Greely predicts: a future where skin cells can be used to make an embryo and parents would prefer a baby made in a laboratory rather than the bedroom. In his book, “The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction,” Greely considers the ethical and legal questions that arise in this new reproductive future.

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Bioethicist Hank Greely Forecasts ‘The End of Sex’ and the Future of Reproduction 2 June,2016Michael Krasny

Guests:
Hank Greely, founding director, Center for Law and the Biosciences and law professor at Stanford University; author of "The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction"

  • EIDALM

    That will be great ,I have always said ,that sex is the biggest curse nature inflicts on all living creature big and small ,from the death of the male of the black widow ,to the demise of great people in history like Julius ,Cleopatra , Mark Antony ,Bill Clinton,so many others ,and myself., never mind the billions of the females of all species including humans who die during the birth process ….When it comes to sex all good judgements jump out of the window and often it end in great harm and even death and beyond .

    • Mjhmjh

      The other side of the coin is that it also contributes to the happiness of much of the world’s adult population. But, of course, as in many aspects of life, winning the toss is largely due to chance. And that is the real problem.

      • EIDALM

        Yes it does ,but that only last very short time ,and soon after misery and unpleasantness become the rule…..Pleasure during sex is a trick by nature to do things that often lead to harm ,and even death….the birth process is only one of thousands that often lead to death ,is only one of thousands…

      • veggiegrrrl

        For me and many young women back in the day, sex was like this: 20 minutes of pleasure (sex), 20 weeks of pain (heartbreak).

    • geraldfnord

      But at least sex was a form of ecstasy 0.) not rooted in falsehoods or drugs and 1.) potentially available to adults of all conditions.

  • geraldfnord

    Just as Popes have predicted, the separation of reproduction from sex has been the death of time-honoured, traditional patterns of relationships between the sexes and of important tabous against masturbation and homosexuality…so it it has that in its favour.

    Still, though, reproduction, like most disease used to be, was one way in which we were all alike, and just as technology’s advance has made both rich and poor healthier, but the rich more so (and it will only get more so as they stop dying entirely), and as the basics of life differ more and more for the people at the top, the more disconnected and less empathetic they’ll get—and it’s not as if they were ever that empathetic to begin-with. At a certain point, the Eloi will wish the Morlocks would just die, and the Morlocks may start finding the Eloi looking mighty tasty.

  • Felix

    Does the author believe that the billions of humans who cannot afford designer babies aren’t worth his consideration?
    Is the emperor wearing no clothing?

    • Bill_Woods

      Most things start out expensive, but the early adopters pay for making them cheaper. A generation ago, how many people could afford cell phones?

      • Felix

        With the increasing corporate assaults on socialized heathcare e.g. in the UK and elsewhere, I don’t see this becoming affordable anywhere except Mexico.

        • Bill_Woods

          Cost to sequence the first human genome: >$1 billion.
          Cost to sequence the next human genome: ~$1 thousand.

          • Felix

            Cost of 30 Tylenols at Safeway $3
            Cost of 30 Tylenols at typical hospital $3000

  • David Eric Tillman

    The end of sex? “…O why was I ever decanted…”

  • Ben Rawner

    Has your guest read ‘A Brave New World’? And, does your guest think by us selecting genetics that we may end up bottlenecking and shallowing out the gene pool, which would leave us more susceptible to diseases and viruses?

  • Livegreen

    Is there any hint that Dr.’s Howard & Georgeanna Jones and Robert Edwards had insight that their breakthrough fertility research would evolve as the author suggests? I might add that this does not need to leed to eugenics: Dr. Jones performed both the first IVF in the US and also the first successful sex reassignment surgery. Clearing successful genes is not eugenics, it is safety so an embryo can become a healthy baby.

  • Felix

    One positive use of designer babies might be helping humans to evolve to become better suited to life in space.
    For instance skin that blocks more radiation and bones that retain their strength without gravity would have real practical value.
    If designer baby making become solely the obsession of the rich then it will only increase strife.
    If it becomes politicized, e.g. Trump supporters are deemed “crazy” and prohibited from procreating, it would be a nightmare.

    • Noelle

      or as the caller just asked, how to make humans survive climate change. hmm

      • Felix

        Climate change & overpopulation will mean less food being available. We know that smaller humans eat less food. So maybe a good use for CRISPR will be to make smaller people.

      • veggiegrrrl

        That was me. Thanks. It doesn’t seem possible.

  • Steven Meyer

    I am curious to know if the author has considered or envisions one day adults or even children being sterilized (by choice, or otherwise) so as to prevent unwanted pregnancies if indeed children would be conceived in this manner using cells derived to become sperm or eggs. And if so, or if not, what are his thoughts?

  • Noelle

    but “rolling the dice” is what genetics is all about, it’s that random variation that is needed.

  • Xheezie

    Well, this is what happens when we’re stupid enough to look the other way while we somehow think it’s okay to let lawyers run biological processes. The author claims that the service will be “subsidized” and “free.” Like crossing the Golden Gate bridge was supposed to be– remember? Or were you too busy watching Tee Vee??

  • Teresa Camozzi

    I am reading EVOLVING OURSELVES

    BY JUAN ENRIQUEZ AND STEVE GULLANS where discussed in part are epigenomes. When pregnant women were starved in the Netherlands by the Nazi food embargo, the distressed women gave birth to malnutrition babies. These babies had an unprecedented percentage of the disease schizophrenia, as did there off spring for three generations though the stress and malnourishment ended. This seems to argue the issue of genes vs environment.

  • Xheezie

    I wonder if anyone else has the ears with which to hear the most arrogant tone in the author’s voice as he makes his cock-sure proclamations regarding procreation tech and how, yet again, technology is going to “save” us? It all depends now on how you present eugenics to folks. When Hitler tried this, everyone was pretty much able to see it for what it was– what’s happened to morals, actually? Self-driving cars are just an excuse to control the people being so transported and this Brave New Idea is just another chapter in the Agenda 21 Hand-Buch.

    • Mjhmjh

      When it comes to the fear of Big Brother, I see all the computers (and screens) in the home as a far greater and more immediate threat than self-driving cars!

  • Winjas

    The world might not have had Stephen Hawking?

    • Mjhmjh

      Worse for the world, of course. But given the choice before his birth, I wonder what
      Professor Hawking’s own decision would have been? Or that of others with motor neurone disease?

  • EIDALM

    I will go further than the guest to say that since all of our illnesses are due to our physical human body ,eventually in some years from now ,may be as little as thousand year ,we are going to eliminate all of that and get rid of our physical body totally ,and that may lead us to eternal life…..I really believe that is part of our evolution in the future…….

  • chris

    Steven Druker, public interest attorney, describes in his 2015 book, how the corrupted genetics science and politics got ILLEGALLY to first engineer our food:”Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public”. In this process, Stanford scientists played a huge role, among others, Paul Berg, who received the Nobel Price “for his fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids, with particular regard to recombinant-DNA”. The very origin of genetics goes back to eugenics, the WWII movement of eliminating ‘special races’, based on the invisible differences in their genetic footprint. The best way what the geneticists think about us humans is described in a cruel way in a book: “A double image of the double helix. The recombinant-DNA debate” by Clifford Grobstein in 1979. Ever since that moment, when scientists, many from the ‘best’ universities in this country, supported by Rockefeller Foundation (which financed all the medical science for ~100 years..) started to cut genes, mix them between all possible species, which includes patented production of GMO ‘food’ (mixed in genes from pathogenic bacteria, viruses into normal plants) , cancer started to grow, autism started to grow, countless other diseases broke out in masses, to a point, where Americans became the sickest nation among all industrialized countries, paying btw. for that the highest health insurance costs. Stanford seems to never have enough, with this impudent and sickened prediction which totally undignifies the human body, soul and spirit, Stanford wants to replace the role of the real creator, and literally PRODUCE future generations. I’d say, that can only happen with brain and heart impaired nation, with people who lost entirely their humanity to a clique of money hungry, artificial god playing actors, totalitarian liars, called scientists. Predicting a technology which takes away one of the biggest pleasures in life, sex, only because of characters deepened in jealousy, greed and control, is worse than announcing WWII by Hitler. There are places on this planet, which are just sickened to the highest possible level, one of them must be Stanford, since maybe not for nothing I frequently mistype its name to: Satnford…
    I must apologize to say all that, since I have worked for that place for years. Maybe exactly because of all these years, one can finally get the real picture, while trying to understand many ‘very special’ features about that place, in particular getting NO HELP WHILE DYING OF CANCER!!! Actually the only help offered, was PROGRAMMED DEATH FROM THE VERY BEGIN: high energy X-ray radiation and chemo! For this I highly recommend documentaries by Ty Bollinger: “The Truth About Cancer”. That will show you how far the cancer corruption goes, beyond WWII. For a medical doctor to say a cancer patient he/she has few months to live, or for a lawyer to say ‘no more sex to get children’, is one of the HIGHEST CRIMES on our planet: A WORD PLAY WITH AN ANIMAL CRUELTY of hoping to redefine the future. People, the future is YOURS, not of the medical doctors or lawyers, paid at least ~500.00$ (five hundred)/hour!!!

  • veggiegrrrl

    We are in the 6th mass extinction with abrupt climate change happening now. Scientists predict massive amounts of methane, more CO2, food and water shortages for billions, wet bulb temperatures and violent storms. How can humans be geo-engineered to withstand higher temperatures, less food, less water, higher wind resistance, etc?? Doesn’t seem possible.

  • Mary Marsella

    For my part, Stanford University’s high esteem, has like Don Draper, fallen to the ground and not to end up sitting on a mid century modern couch with swagger, but rather in a dumpster unfit for Oscar the Grouch.

    Seriously, this interview was like a bad dream. I kept hoping it was a joke and waiting for the punch-line.

    Absolutely devoid of any counter critique, this interview left me incredulous. In fact, it’s driven me to write about it, as it has also made me speechless.

    Questions:

    1) What motivates you, Hank Greely, to write this book? 2) What is the good created in all this “science”? 3) What makes you convinced that what you describe in your book will become “normative”? 4) In your opinion as prognosticator of the future, among which population will this process become “popular”? 5) what impact will this new way to “procreate” have on humanity’s relationship to the earth and nature, to which humans are inextricably connected? 6) how much time do you spend in a lab and how much time do you spend outdoors in nature? 7) do you ever spend quiet time alone? 8) Do you allow yourself time to reflect on your actions and the rapid changes currently taking place in our world? 9) Have you ever thought that this dream of the future could be someone else’s nightmare? Like, for 99% of the 7+ billion people on this planet? 10) Do you care? Really? And for Michael Krasny: Q. Why did you not question this man more? Audience: You were asleep! That is all.

Host

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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