Cyborg Babies


From Techno-sex to Techno-tots

Edited by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Joseph Dumit

(Routledge, Aug 1998)

From fetuses scanned ultrasonically to computer hackers in daycare, contemporary children are increasingly rendered cyborg by their immersion in technoculture. As we are faced with reproductive choices connected directly with technologies, we often have trouble gaining perspective on our own cultural co-dependency with these very same technologies. Our notions of fetal health, maternal risk and child IQ are inseparable from them. Cyborg Babies tracks the process of reproducing children in symbiosis with pervasive technology and offers a range of perspectives, from resistance to ethnographic analysis to science fiction. Cultural anthropologists and social critics offer cutting-edge ethnographies, critiques, and personal narratives of cyborg conceptions (sperm banks, IVF, surrogacy) and prenatal (mis)diagnosis (DES, ultrasound, amniocentesis); the technological de- and reconstruction of birth in the hospital (electronic fetal monitors, epidurals); and the effects of computer simulation games and cyborg toys and stories on children’s emergent consciousness. Examining the increasing cyborgification of the American child, from conception through birth and beyond, Cyborg Babies considers its implications for human cultural and psychological evolution.


Joseph Dumit and Robbie Davis-Floyd
Introduction, Cyborg Babies: Children of the Third Millenium


Matthew A. Schmidt and Lisa Jean Moore 
Constructing a Good ‘Catch,’ Picking a Winner: 
The Development of Techno-Semen and the Deconstruction of the Monolithic Male

Charis M. Cussins 
“Quit snivelling, cryo-baby–we’ll work out which one’s your mama!”

Steven Daniel Mentor 
Witches, Nurse-Midwives, and Cyborgs: IVF, ART, and Complex Agency in the World of Technobirth

Janet Isaacs Ashford 
Natural Love 


Monica Casper 
Fetal Cyborgs and Technomoms on the Reproductive Frontier: Which Way to the Carnival?

Lisa Mitchell and Eugenia Georges 
Baby’s First Picture: The Cyborg Fetus of Ultrasound Imaging

Emily Martin 
The Fetus as Intruder: Mother’s Bodies and Medical Metaphors

Rayna Rapp 
Refusing Prenatal Diagnosis: The Uneven Meanings of Bioscience in a Multicultural World

David Chamberlain
Babies Don’t Feel Pain: A Century of Denial in Medicine


Elizabeth Roberts
“Native” Narratives of Connectedness: Surrogate Motherhood and Technology

Joseph Dumit with Sylvia Sensiper 
Living with the ‘Truths’ of DES: Toward and Anthropology of Facts

Elizabeth Cartwright 
The Logic of Heartbeats: Electronic Fetal Monitoring and Biomedically Constructed Birth

Robbie Davis-Floyd
From Technobirth to Cyborg Babies: Reflections on the Emergent Discourse of a Holistic Anthropologist


Jennifer Croissant 
Growing Up Cyborg: Developmental Stories for Postmodern Children

Mizuko Ito 
Inhabiting Multilple Worlds: Making Sense of SimCity 2000 TM in the Fifth Dimension

Sherry Turkle 
Playing with Artificial Life

Anne A. Hill 
Children of Metis: Beyond Zeus the Creator. Paganism and the Possibilities for Embodied Cyborg Childraising




Robbie Davis-Floyd & Joseph Dumit, eds. 1998. Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots. (Routledge).

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