A mother and son sit in a reproduction restaurant choosing his ideal gamete partner from an Internet database. A childless couple pay a single mother to carry their child. A man who is producing no sperm at all conceives with his partner. A bereaved mother commissions a clone of her dead daughter. Two men conceive a child which is carried for them in a friend’s womb.
In 1999, as we approached the new millennium, Sex in the Future turned our attention to the world of our reproductive futures. Basic biological factors that had shaped our reproductive behaviour for millions of years were suddenly changing in major ways. Through the technique of dramatized scenes, the ways these social and technological changes could influence sexual behaviour and relationships were graphically illustrated.
The book describes a world where a combination of IVF and surrogate motherhood spells the end of infertility but also of the need for men and women to form relationships at all. Men no longer need sperm to reproduce. Families are made up of IVF babies and clones and only those who cannot afford the new technology even think about having a baby the natural way.
The technological developments to trigger these changes are either already with us or only a couple of decades away. Sex in the Future might read like science fiction but for the brave new world of human reproduction it is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’.
A decade after the book was published, some of the predictions were already proving to be correct. Which will be next?