Season 2, episode 6

Our reproductive capabilities are changing in exciting ways, altering our fundamental understanding of fertility, reproduction, and even parenthood. 

In this episode of Mind Over Chatter, we ask our guests what the consequences of novel reproductive technologies are likely to be, and how they will impact the future of human reproduction. 

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We cover topics ranging from egg-freezing, so-called ‘three-parent-babies, and the importance of studying the embryonic development of primates.

Historical demographer, Dr Alice Reid, who researches fertility, mortality and health in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, tells us how reproduction has changed over the last 200 years and how it has been influenced by improvements in gender equality, as well as discussing the likely demographic impact of assisted reproduction.

Dr Lucy Van de Wiel, whose research focuses on the social and cultural analysis of assisted reproductive technologies such as egg freezing, introduces the important ways in which reproductive technologies must be considered in the context of wide social and political issues. 

Finally, Dr Thorsten Boroviak shares his cutting-edge research on developing new reproductive technologies – the ability to generate your own egg or sperm from any cell of your body – and the importance of studying the embryonic development of primates.

Key points:

[2:10]- change of human reproduction over the last 200 years

[5:45]- egg freezing and changing meaning of what it means to be ‘fertile’

[12:05]- higher levels of gender equity can produce higher levels of fertility

[23:19]- generating eggs and sperms from any human cell

[24:02]- can a man produce an egg?

[40:37]- when should one freeze their eggs?

[64:54]- reproductive justice and reproductive equity. Ensuring reproductive autonomy while ensuring non-exploitation

[65:59]- Final question: what is the most exciting thing that will happen to humankind in the future?