The Future of Human Reproduction

An innovative, interdisciplinary research programme, funded by Wellcome, exploring the cultural, ethical, legal and social challenges that will emerge as technological advances fundamentally change the possibilities for human reproduction.

Our Vision

To push academic boundaries by developing new methods, research agendas and interdisciplinary ways of working to tackle the conceptual and ethical implications of a range of future reproductive scenarios likely to be technologically possible within a generation. 

Major Research Themes

An illustration of a human fetus held above an outstretched hand.

The complete or partial gestation of a fetus outside of the human body, in an artificial womb environment, creating children who have not been ‘born’ in the usual sense of the term. 

Human sperm swimming toward an egg.

The creation of embryos from artificial eggs and sperm opening up the possibility of same-sex, multiplex (multi-person) or singular genetic parenting.


A hand holding a pair of scissor cutting a DNA sequence.

A type of genetic engineering that enables changes to the DNA of organisms. This could lead to future children being ‘chosen’ or ‘designed’ with far greater levels of prevision than at present. 

Our Team

We are a team of academics and researchers from six different humanities and social sciences disciplines: design, English literature, law, linguistics, philosophy, and psychology. 

Featured Posts

Human embryos

Academics and researchers from The Future of Human Reproduction team have contributed to a Government policy briefing on human stem cell based embryo models (SCBEMs)
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Professor Stephen Wilkinson

Stephen Wilkinson, Distinguished Professor of Bioethics at Lancaster University and Principal Investigator on The Future of Human Reproduction programme, has been appointed to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.
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A DNA helix with a section missing.

To mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science, our latest blog focuses on the groundbreaking work of Profs Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna who won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool.
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A DNA helix.

Our latest review, of the Genetic Automata exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, explores how the aesthetics of iconic videogames raise important questions about science, genetics, race and identity.
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Logos from Lancaster University, Wellcome and the University of Sheffield.

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