ABSTRACT

The use of new reproductive technologies (NRTs) by infertile couples in Ireland is shaped by particular socio-political meanings of procreation, which are bound up with pronatalist and pro-life discourses. Recent debates about the regulation of NRTs in Ireland have raised questions about the moral status of the embryo. These debates, although similar to those that have taken place in the UK (Mulkay, 1997; Parry, 2003), are distinctive, given the constitutional protection of the ‘unborn’ in Ireland. This Irish constitutional protection has created ambiguity around those embryos created extra-corporally, as in the case of NRTs. As a result, several stakeholder discourses have arisen in Ireland both around the in vitro fertilization (IVF) embryo itself and the potential for regulation of its creation, storage, usage and destruction, and these new discursive positions are the focus of this chapter.