Is Pregnancy Necessary? Feminist Concerns About Ectogenesis

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1989

Publication Title

Hypatia: Special Issue: Ethics and Reproduction


To what extent are women obliged to be child‐bearers? If reproductive technology could offer some form of ectogenesis, would feminists regard it as a liberating reproductive option? Three lines of reproductive rights arguments currently used by feminists are applied to ectogenesis. Each fails to provide strong grounds for prohibiting it. Yet, there are several ways in which ectogenesis could contribute to women's oppression, in particular, if it were used to undermine abortion rights, reinforce traditional views of fertility, increase fetal rights in pregnancy, and perpetuate the unequal distribution of scarce medical resources. A re‐thinking of women's relationship to pregnancy is needed in order to challenge ectogenetic research.