Eighteen Ways to Make a Baby
To consider some of the ethical, legal, and social issues related to allowing a post-menopausal woman to give birth.
- copy of "Motherhood After Menopause" student handout (PDF or HTML)
Tell students they will be looking at the ethical, legal, and social implications of a case involving in vitro fertilization, which involves taking a woman's eggs, fertilizing them in a lab with a man's sperm, and then transferring the resulting embryos to a woman's uterus a few days later to develop naturally. The case involves a woman who becomes pregnant after menopause and has a child at 63 years old.
Organize students into groups and give each student a copy of the "Motherhood After Menopause" student handout.
Read the case study as a class so that the situation is clear to everyone. Allow students time to discuss their opinions about this case. Have each group present its opinions; allow for dissenting opinions among group members. Have each group write a paragraph summarizing the group's majority opinion and a paragraph summarizing the group's minority opinion.
To close, record the different viewpoints presented by students on the board. With students, identify the major themes in the arguments and allow students time to debate those themes.
As an extension, have students research and debate some of the issues regarding sperm or egg donation, such as how many individuals may be part of the process and who has what rights and responsibilities for the resulting child.
When Talking About Reproductive Technology
Be sensitive to students' comfort level when discussing infertility and ethical issues. Some students may not have prior knowledge of new reproductive technologies. You may want to review the procedures involved in artificial insemination by donor, surrogate embryo transfer, surrogate motherhood, and in vitro fertilization. (See Resources below for more information.)
In general, as a woman ages, her chances of becoming pregnant decrease and the health risks to the fetus and the mother increase. Assisted reproductive technologies often offer these women and other couples with fertility problems the only hope for having a child.
According to an interview on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Arceli's doctor, Richard Paulson, says the upper age limit set by his clinic is an arbitrary number, chosen years before Arceli's case. Paulson says the limit is based on known averages of when a woman experiences menopause and the ability to bear children. The clinic's limit of 55 years old is about five years older than the age of natural menopause, and about 10 years beyond the age of natural childbearing, according to the interview.
In terms of age requirements, some women maintain that as long as they meet health requirements, they should be allowed to take advantage of assisted reproductive technologies.
Opponents of post-menopausal pregnancies question whether the health risks of such a pregnancy and the age of the parents in relation to the child are unfair to the expectant child.
In analyzing the case, students may have opinions that are based on emotional, ethical, legal, or social grounds. Accept all responses for discussion, being sensitive to each student's viewpoint.
Andrew, Lori B. The Clone Age, Adventures in the New World of Reproductive Technology. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1999.
Explores the legal and ethical ramifications of the many changes in reproductive technology.
Silver, Lee M. Remaking Eden: How Genetic Engineering and Cloning Will Transform the American Family. New York: Avon Books, 1998.
Explains the scientific advances behind reproductive technologies.
NOVA Online—18 Ways to Make a Baby
On this Web site, read how many ways there are to make a baby, learn some reasons behind the fears of cloning humans, follow the path of male and female fertility from infancy to adulthood, and delve into mitosis and meiosis.
Fertility Race Part Seven: Twenty Years of Test-Tube Babies
Describes how in vitro fertilization techniques have developed over the past 20 years. Includes some relevant statistics, a glossary of terms, and a list of links for additional information.
The Motherhood After Menopause activity aligns with the following National Science Education Standards:
Science Standard F:
Science and technology in society
Science influences society through its knowledge and worldview. Scientific knowledge and the procedures used by scientists influence the way many individuals in society think about themselves, others, and the environment. The effect of science on society is neither entirely beneficial nor entirely detrimental.
Science Standard F:
Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges
Understanding basic concepts and principles of science and technology should precede active debate about the economics, policies, politics, and ethics of various science- and technology-related challenges. However, understanding science alone will not resolve local, national, or global challenges.
Individuals and society must decide on proposals involving new research and the introduction of new technologies into society. Decisions involve assessment of alternatives, risks, costs, and benefits and consideration of who benefits and who suffers, who pays and gains, and what risks are and who bears them.
„All life is an experiment”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Graphic map of Terra Nova
(drawn by Sabine Soeder)
“There was something noticeably different today, when I came to the office this morning. There was a definite buzz in the air in the DAF division and people were visibly still under the impression of yesterday's retreat. I must confess that I did not expect the day before the retreat to be at this juncture: the DAF division filled with all this positive energy and ready to “rock the boat”.”
The day after the Terra Nova session - Director of division of Administration and Finance , WHO Regional Office for Europe
„I just wanted to say thanks for helping me make this session a success. I asked a number of participants for feedback on the workshop and without exception they all not only enjoyed the Terra Nova simulation but felt we hit home on the key points. I myself saw a number of light bulbs go on during the debriefs which always makes me happy.”
Organizational Development, Baker Hughes
„Thank you for a tremendous day and a very insightful session. I know that going forward this experience will be one that I can really leverage with my team. It has also laid the foundation for me to start implementing the changes that I need to get our centers to take the next step in its evolution. Thank you again and I look forward to working with you again.”
Director, Davis & Henderson
Demonstrating the benefits of strategic collaboration in a fast-paced, challenging, constantly changing environment.
The Global Learning & Talent Development Team of a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market had consisted of three teams that worked separately. A few months earlier, the Vice President of Global Learning & Talent Development reorganized the teams so they now work together and report into one person.
The Director, to whom all three groups would now report, was relatively new to the company and had been exploring projects, processes and principles to help them work better together. She indicated that working together doesn’t happen naturally for these teams and she felt like she was forcing collaboration. All three teams were accepting of the change. Conceptually, they understood that the integration was a good thing and they saw it as positive; they were simply not in the practice of collaborating. Her people were busy in a fast-paced, challenging, constantly changing environment. As they applied effort to accomplishing their tasks, they defaulted to work in the familiar and comfortable silos of the past.
We needed to bring them to clear realization of the benefits they could experience by working more closely together and motivate them to do so.
Terra Nova is a 'silo-busting' simulation that teaches the skills to achieve extraordinaryresults cross-functionally. It is a superb tool to help your team achieve absolute clarity andstrong alignment in order to maximize results while minimizing the challenges of working across teams.
We chose to use our Terra Nova business simulation to allow them to experience, first hand, how they could benefit from working together. Individuals are engaged in different teams representing departments, regions, or functions. They must work together with a high level of integration to meet a common vision and achieve success.
In Terra Nova, each team has it’s own unique goals, values and interests. Despite the common purpose of making Terra Nova prosperous, there is a high probability of friction between teams as they each work from their own vantage point. For Terra Nova to prosper, participants need to align individual, team and organizational goals. By focusing on skill sets in the areas of communication, role clarity and conflict resolution to achieve alignment, participants will create an organization that removes bottlenecks, drastically improves productivity, and achieves outstanding business results.
- Improved morale and productivity as they improved their strategic collaboration
- Increases in efficiency and a decrease of rework due to sharing of best practices
- The importance of stopping to make sure everyone is on the same page, especially in a fast-paced, multi-team environment
- The importance of sharing and communicating the vision
- How to best build buy-in and motivation with other teams
Terra Nova provides participants with a debrief after each quarter of the simulation focusing on what’s working, what’s not, what needs to change, and how the experience relates back to the workplace. This allows them to adapt over the course of the simulation and to practice and apply the skills and tools that they have learned. This “learn-practice-apply” methodology allows for easy transference of skills back at the workplace.
Participants walked away from Terra Nova having experienced the real benefits of collaborating. In four short hours, participants moved from a chaotic environment where everybody worked in silos with low productivity and low morale, to a collaborative environment that lead to high productivity and high morale. Throughout the simulation, participants were struck by how the challenges they tackled in the simulation are the very same challenges they faced in the workplace. They were motivated by their ability to find solutions to overcome these challenges in the simulated environment. Having found ways to collaborate successfully, and to overcome hurdles in the simulation, they walked away with a viable game plan and new skill sets to move more rapidly and effectively to the level of collaboration that their leadership desired in real life.
“Thank you for bringing your energy and experience to our team!”
SENIOR ADVISOR, GLOBAL TALENT MANAGEMENT