10 Sep, 16 | by miriamwood
Guest Post: Ezio Di Nucci, University of Copenhagen
Reproductive technologies are increasingly enabling access to parenthood to people who previously could not procreate: these developments are changing concepts and practices within family relationships in interesting ways. Take the following example: in a particular form of IVF treatment, known by the acronym ROPA (Reception of Oocytes from Partner), lesbian couples can share motherhood with one partner providing the eggs while the other becomes pregnant.
IVF-with-ROPA is, on the face of it, good news: two people can share the delight of parenthood and create a new family. More precisely, a couple that would have been previously relying on egg donation or surrogacy can do everything by themselves (obviously apart from the sperm donor), thereby being, in an important sense, empowered through technology.
Additionally, IVF-with-ROPA allows such couples to redistribute parenthood in ways that may turn out to be important both for the health of the relationship and from the point of view of justice, as both women can, through IVF-with-ROPA, claim to be biological mothers (the one through gestation, the other through genetics). IVF-with-ROPA, then, on top of fulfilling a very human wish, has the potential to empower women in at least two important ways: by granting (a more) independent access to motherhood and by promising a more equal relationship.