Has reproductive technology made men redundant?

Michael Cook
1 Sep 2012
Reproduced with Permission

Men are becoming less and less relevant to reproduction and parenting, according to an op-ed in the New York Times. Greg Hampikian, a professor of biology and criminal justice at Boise State University in Idaho, argues that technology is advancing so fast that men may some day become irrelevant.

"Women live longer, are healthier and are far less likely to commit a violent offense. If men were cars, who would buy the model that doesn't last as long, is given to lethal incidents and ends up impounded more often?"

Fathers are an optional extra in raising children, he says.

"With expanding reproductive choices, we can expect to see more women choose to reproduce without men entirely. Fortunately, the data for children raised by only females is encouraging. As the Princeton sociologist Sara S. McLanahan has shown, poverty is what hurts children, not the number or gender of parents…

"If a woman wants to have a baby without a man, she just needs to secure sperm (fresh or frozen) from a donor (living or dead)… If all the men on earth died tonight, the species could continue on frozen sperm. If the women disappear, it's extinction."

This is an argument which has been made many times before and it's hard to tell whether Dr Hampikian is writing with his tongue firmly in his cheek. However, since the New York Times op-ed page is the summit of elite public opinion in the US, perhaps it's a sign that irrelevance of men may become a goal of 21st century reproductive technology. - New York Times, Aug 24