Artificial insemination and eugenics: celibate
motherhood, eutelegenesis and germinal choice
Centre for Family Research,
Faculty of Social and Political Sciences,
Free School Lane,
University of Cambridge,
Cambridge CB2 3RF, UK.
Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2008 Jun;39(2):211-21.
ABSTRACTThis paper traces the history of artificial insemination by selected donors (AID) as a strategy for positive eugenic improvement. While medical artificial insemination has a longer history, its use as a eugenic strategy was first mooted in late nineteenth-century France. It was then developed as 'scientific motherhood' for war widows and those without partners by Marion Louisa Piddington in Australia following the Great War. By the 1930s AID was being more widely used clinically in Britain (and elsewhere) as a medical solution to male infertility for married couples. In 1935 English postal clerk, Herbert Brewer, promoted AID (eutelegenesis) as the socialization of the germ plasm in a eugenic scheme. The next year Hermann Muller, American Drosophila geneticist and eugenicist, presented his plan for human improvement by AID to Stalin. Some twenty years later, Muller, together with Robert Klark Graham, began planning a Foundation for Germinal Choice in California. This was finally opened in 1980 as the first practical experiment in eugenic AID, producing some 215 babies over the twenty years it functioned. While AID appeared to be a means of squaring a eugenic circle by separating paternity from love relationships, and so allowing eugenic improvement without inhibiting individual choice in marriage, it found very little favour with those who might use it, not least because of a couple's desire to have their 'own' children has always seemed stronger than any eugenic aspirations. No state has ever contemplated using AID as a social policy.Eugenics
Liberal eugenics defended
Germline genetic engineering
Congenital insensitivity to pain
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
Transhumanism (H+): toward a Brave New World?
and further reading
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World