Baby-Making Blather


In an interview at Salon, Harvard economist Debora Spar argues, convincingly, that because people are squeamish about acknowledging the existence of the fertility industry, the business of babymaking has so far avoided heavy federal regulation. She then instructs us to buck up, start talking about a commerce in kids, and regulate the hell out of it:

There is still a puritan element among many people who really want to believe that reproduction is a private, intimate process, guided by Mother Nature. It's not the kind of issue on which people have felt comfortable organizing politically.

I didn't realize puritans were so wild for reproductive freedom. Or that the concept of privacy rights went out with lace shifts and linen caps. Spar argues that when we stop being so damn prissy, we'll realize that fertility is now a business. And businesses need regulating. Bizarrely, she throws in:

Well, the irony is that the only technology that is getting loaded with regulation in this country is stem cell technology. Which arguably is the one that has the greatest probability of saving existing lives. So we're not regulating the technologies that are allowing us to produce new lives, but we are regulating the ones that can save existing lives. That makes no sense.

Yes, it is strange that the science of saving lives is so heavily regulated, but you can only see that this is a problem once you acknowledge that regulation will slow innovation and limit access. So calling anyone who fears fertility regulation a hopeless Luddite hardly makes sense.

Whole thing here.