Emerging technologies in reproductive science won’t just change the ways we become parents—they’ll play a key role in the evolving definition of “family.”
Traditional family structures are adapting to make room for children conceived in previously unimaginable ways. Whole industries and internet-enabled communities are being built around reproductive technologies. And there’s more change coming as science continues to move forward. Combining intimate personal stories with cutting-edge research, Reconceptions invites readers to reconsider their own ideas about parenthood and embrace a new vision of the meaning of family.
In 2012, Rachel Lehmann-Haupt, an award-winning journalist, chose to begin a family on her own as a single mother by choice. In the years since her son was born, Rachel’s interest in collaborative reproduction has only grown — leading her to search for pioneers in reproductive science and the different permutations of families that this science is making possible. In Reconceptions, she shares intimate stories from the bleeding edge of society’s redefinition of family — including her own experience of creating a new kind of tribe with her son’s “dosies,” or donor siblings, and their parents. In these pages, readers will meet:
- Tyra, the egg donor and professional surrogate who doesn’t want kids of her own, but stays in touch with several of the families she’s helped in the conception of their children.
- Sam, the single father by choice who worked with a surrogate and donor egg to conceive his son who he is now raising with his girlfriend.
- Rob and Scotty, the gay couple whose egg donor is now a friend and fixture at family social gatherings.
- The author’s Facebook group of mothers who conceived their children with the same sperm donor — and how the group served as a much much-needed support system through the worst of the COVID pandemic.
Reconceptions offers a compelling vision of what advances in reproductive science mean for the definition of family in the 21st century and beyond, and imparts a modern story for anyone looking to better understand their own familial relationships — no matter what their family looks like.
Rachel Lehmann-Haupt is an award-winning author and expert on the future of family life, career timing, and the influence of science and technology on fertility, pregnancy and family. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsweek, New York, Vogue, Outside, Wired and Neo.Life. Kirkus Reviews said her her first book, In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love, Commitment and Motherhood (Basic Books, 2009), "gracefully combines a revealing, engaging memoir with admirably nuanced social commentary.” She is also founder of StoryMade Studio, a boutique storytelling studio serving a wide range of clients, including the TED conference and the Mayo Clinic.
Tiffany Shlain is an artist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, founder of the Webby Awards and author of the national bestselling book 24/6: Giving up Screens One Day a Week to Get More Time, Creativity, and Connection winner of the Marshall McLuhan Outstanding Book Award. Working across film, art, and performance, Shlain's work explores the intersection of feminism, creativity, neuroscience, and philosophy. She has received over 80 awards and distinctions including being selected for the Albert Einstein Foundation’s Genius: 100 Visions of the Future and multiple film premieres at Sundance. The Museum of Modern Art in New York premiered her live one woman “spoken cinema” performance Dear Human. Her recent exhibition Human Nature which was presented by the National Women’s History Museum and Women Connect4Good debuted at the San Francisco Ferry Building’s SHACK15 and will be traveling to exciting places in 2023. tiffanyshlain.com
Rachel Lehmann-Haupt photo courtesy of the author; Tiffany Shlain photo courtesy of the author