Australasian Health & Medical Humanities Network Launch: Online Symposium | 3 June

Experimenting on Future Children: Early Adopters and the Ethics of Technology Innovation in Human Reproduction

We are delighted to celebrate the launch of the new Australasian Health and Medical Humanities Network with an online symposium on June 3, from 2-4 pm AEST. The symposium will be helmed by Network founder and convenor Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens (UQ).

The symposium will begin with the inaugural Australasian Health and Medical Humanities Network lecture by Professor Catherine Mills (Director of the Monash Bioethics Centre, Monash University), on “Experimenting on future children: Early adopters and the ethics of technology innovation in human reproduction.”

This will be followed by a panel on key activities and programs in the health and medical humanities in Australia by Dr Claire Hooker (Sydney; founder and convenor of the Arts Health Network NSW); Dr Keren Hammerschlag (ANU, founder and convenor of the Visual Medical Humanities network); and Professor Sandra Carr (UWA, founder and convenor of the undergraduate major in Humanities for Health and Medicine at UWA).  The panel is chaired by Dr Karin Sellberg (UQ).

Part One, including Professor Catherine Mills's keynote can be accessed here. 
Part Two, including the panel can be accessed here.

If you have any questions about this event or the network, please contact us at: info@healthmedicalhumanities.net.au. 

While CRISPR-Cas9 has dominated the science headlines in recent years, there has been a broad social and moral consensus that it is too soon to move to clinical use of genome editing in human reproduction. Nevertheless, Chinese scientist He Jiankui reported the use of CRISPR in the births of two girls in 2018 and in Russia, another scientist has indicated plans to proceed with human reproductive genome editing. In this project, I place this early adoption in a sketchy history of innovation in reproductive technologies to outline the social and ethical effects that early adoption of innovative technologies in the context of human reproduction may have, focusing on scientists, women, and future children.  I argue that responsible innovation in human reproductive technologies requires thinking beyond standard concerns with individual consent, autonomy and risk to broader ideas about shared life-worlds and intersubjectivity. 

Catherine Mills is Director of the Monash Bioethics Centre at Monash University, where she previously held an ARC Future Fellowship. Her research addresses ethical issues that arise around innovative reproductive biomedicine and technologies. In current funded research projects, she examines: genomics for preventing mitochondrial disease, expanded non-invasive prenatal testing, epigenetics in antenatal care, uterine transplant and commercial interests in IVF. She has an extensive record of academic publication, including three sole author books, The Philosophy of Agamben (2008), Futures of Reproduction: Bioethics and Biopolitics (2011) and Biopolitics (2018).