The First Nine Months (Gen Ed 1084)





What is a human individual deserving of rights?


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David A. Haig

What makes a human? A baby develops from a single cell during the nine months of gestation, but the process that begins so simply has complications that stretch beyond the womb into questions of human identity and individuality. This course will explore the process of embryonic and fetal development, highlighting complicated questions such as the medical dilemma of maternal-fetal conflict, which occurs when doctors must evaluate the competing health needs of both fetus and mother. You will study disorders of pregnancy such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, as well as types of nonstandard fetal development, like monozygotic twins or microchimerism, that result in human diversity. The course will also consider the kinds of families made possible by ovum donation, sperm donation, surrogate pregnancies, and the like, as well as the questions of bioethics raised by such assistive reproductive technologies.

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