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Reversible Contraceptive Innoculations

Don Ashley dashley at TENET.EDU
Fri Mar 3 03:33:17 EST 1995

Reportedly, there is research on vaccination for reversible 
contraception. Effects would be to eliminate much of the unwanted 
pregnancies suggested to comprise half of all new population growth.

On Thu, 2 Mar 1995, Patrick O'Neil wrote:

> On Thu, 2 Mar 1995, Peter Merel wrote:
> > >The third path is: reduction of world population (in the developed world 
> > >because it consumes most of the resources and produces the most pollution 
> > >and in the developing world so it doesn't exacerbate the problem as it 
> > >develops); 
> > 
> > I think that this is a desirable course in the short-term; the only
> > ethical way to do it, I think, is to modify human fertility. Not to
> > sterilize humanity as some have suggested here, but to reduce its
> > fertility to manageable levels.  We could perhaps modify Patrick
> > O'Neils' genocide virus to only alter human hormone levels so that no
> > one would be fertile until the age of 30, and so that no one would be
> > fertile after the age of 40. Of course the real problem with this is 
> > not how to engineer it, but how to introduce it without getting lynched
> > by religious fundamentalists ...
> The problem with engineering a virus (or any potential pathogen) to do 
> "good" deeds for us is that once it is released, all control over its 
> further development and direction are totally lost.  It will follow 
> whatever path it follows irrespective of what we might want and that 
> might not be reduced fertility (in this case), but outright sterility or 
> worse.  Don't look to viruses, per se, for any nice answers.  They, like 
> all organisms, are subject to natural selective forces which do not take 
> our desires or wishes into account.  A germ-line modification could be 
> accomplished, though male fertility is declining as is with no known 
> cause (sperm counts are lower, in general, and going down - who knows 
> where it will end?) or something like a childhood somatic gene therapy 
> innoculation that leads to a reduced period of fertility.  So long as 
> there is some assurance of controlling or reversing the alteration, then 
> it might suffice with little harm overall.
> Patrick

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