But what do we want? First of all, we want genetic engineering to transform the way families work, perhaps by making it possible for two women to create a baby without male intervention — or for more than two parents to create a baby. (Researchers in Japan have already bred a healthy baby mouse out of genetic material from two females, and researchers in England are working on a human baby that will have genetic material from two women and one man.) Either way, you've got new parental formations, and hopefully this biological change will lead to childcare being meted out more equally — or at least challenge our preconceptions about what it means to be a "mommy" or a "daddy."
We also want artificial wombs, so that women don't have to stay home from work while gestating their fetuses. We need technologies that will at last close the "baby gap" in workplaces where women fall behind their male colleagues during pregnancies and their children's early development. Plus, we want men to be able to participate as fully in the reproductive process as possible. That's why male pregnancy and lactation should be a goal of feminist genetic engineers. We don't want merely to liberate ourselves from the reproductive process; we want to bring men into it as our equal partners.
New family structures, artificial wombs, and pregnant men are just the very beginnings of what feminists should be demanding when it comes to the genetic transformation of our species. Let's get out of the streets and into the lab! SFBG
Annalee Newitz is a surly media nerd who thinks mpreg stories are the wave of the future.
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