1) Consumer/Mom Literature: Written mostly for and by women concerning the options available for DI as well as first-hand accounts from women who have experienced it. This is, by far, the largest sub-genre and the easiest material to come by, readily available at your local Barnes and Noble. As you might imagine these books are almost 100% in favor of all RTs and their area of concern is not so much whether or not these practices are ethical but rather focus on what the best methods, techniques and approaches for getting pregnant, and how best to manage the future child in the absence of a father and how to break the news to the future child that they are donor offspring. Much to this sub-genre's credit, the authors seem to be almost unanimously against keeping the DI procedure secret from the child. While many of these books do give ample historical context to DI (some even go so far as to discuss the eugenic implications of the procedure) these books are, for the most part, like any other consumer literature – they are buyer's guides that treat the mother-to-be like a consumer and the child-to-be like a product to be appropriately priced and researched before purchased. Frankly, I found many of these books to be quite alienating. But there are a few that I thought were fairly comprehensive in their perspective:
On Our Own, Melissa Ludtke
Single Mothers By Choice, Jane Mattes
Having Your Baby By Donor Insemination, Elizabeth Noble
2) Medical/Bioethical Literature: Mostly written by and for doctors and/or academics concerning the ethical decisions and ramifications of DI within the larger context of RTs. Besides the fact that these books are harder to come by, more expensive and more difficult to understand than the aforementioned Consumer-Mom literature these books are concerned with the way DI and other RTs contrast with what we as a culture have long considered to be normal and how best to deal with the schism between the new normal and old normal.
For instance, Brent Waters, in his book Reproductive Technologies asks the million dollar question: If medicine is now displacing marriage as the principle institution ordering procreation – how do we begin to understand the ethical framework from which modern medicine arose? To answer this very difficult, very relevant question, Waters says:
…contemporary medicine is practiced against the backdrop of a Western philosophical crisis. With the collapse of Christendom and the Enlightenment’s failure to fill the void, Western societies lack consensus on a normative practice of medicine. Thus an ‘anonymous perspective of reason’ is needed in which no religious or moral orthodoxy is imposed or privileged. A secular framework of moral deliberation encompassing a pluralistic world is required, necessitating a neutral mode of public moral discourse. The role of the moral philosopher in general, and the bioethicist in particular, is not to judge the truth of conflicting claims but to develop credible options among a diverse population. They map the terrain of contending values, identifying procedures for resolving conflict…Although a secular bioethic must acknowledge a wide spectrum of moral convictions, freedom is the dominant value….
Freedom. Never has the word flapped so lonely in the wind. Freedom of choice. Freedom to be oneself. Freedom from the other. But if everyone is free in their own realm of biotechnological decision-making what happens to community, neighborhood, belonging, togetherness? Now that men and women no longer need each other for reproduction what does a man see when he looks at a woman? What does a woman see when she looks at a man? What do we think about when we think about ourselves?
I got really into this subgenre. I couldn’t stop. These books are academic, slow going and, really, kind of far out. I found that reading several of these books in a row is like huffing glue: brief high-highs interspersed with fat black patches of nothing. Let me just say: these books are interesting (theoretically) but I wouldn’t want to live in a world ruled by scientists or bioethicists. Remember the technocratic dystopia described in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World? Well, you know where I’m going with this.
Ethics of New Reproductive Technologies, Jonathan Glover
The Future of Human Reproduction, ed. John Harris and Soren Holm
The Artificial Family, donors R. Snowden and G.D. Mitchell
A Question of Life: The Warnock Report, Mary Warnock
Reproductive Technology: Towards a theology of Procreative Stewardship, Ethics of New Reproductive Technologies, Brent Waters
3) Philosophical Literature: Most of the philosophical literature here does not refer to DI by name but rather to the nature of human reproduction in the age of science and, in particular, how this effects being, conciousness, one's existential perspective and whether or not such an existential perspective even still exists. This is yet an even smaller sub-genre than the previous two, depending on what philosophical texts you want to drag into the conversation. One book from thus sub-genre stood out from all the rest: Jurgen Habermas's The Future of Human Nature, published in 2003, in which he examines the difference between the “grown” and the “made.” He asks, “…whether the instrumentalization of human nature [the made] changes the ethical self-understanding of the species in such a way that we may no longer see ourselves as ethically free and morally equal beings guided by norms and reasons.”
In other words, by “making” new human beings via technology we are essentially giving birth to a new existential or extra-existential or even non-existential perspective, a people for whom we "naturally" conceived humans can't possibly apply our "normative" ethical framework. It would be like critiquing a film based on television standards.
By the way, whenever the subject comes up in conversation, I tell people I am a “product” of donor insemination. Several of my friends have commented that this is a rather cold or unfeeling self-description but I do believe it’s apt.
The Human Condition, Hannah Artendt
Secrets, Sissela Bok
The Future of Human Nature, Jurgen Habermas
The Question Concerning Technology, Martin Heidegger
The Republic, Plato
4) The Literature of Eugenics: It turns out that Francis Galton and the history of Eugenics is the story within the story, as it were, concerning DI. I believe this story gives adequate context to the questions and practical applications facing DI today. Needless to say, I was surprised by what I found and I’m guessing you will be too.
Did you know, in the early 20th Century, the United States had a comprehensive sterilization program in 26 states in which the “ lower tenth” - those determined to be stupid, poor, ugly - were legally forced into sterilization in an effort to improve the race? Did you know, in the early 20th Century, the U.S. and U.K. eugenics programs were far more advanced than their Nazi counterparts and were in fact the models upon which Nazi Germany based their eugenics program? Did you know that American, British and Nazi German scientists worked hand-in-hand in cooperative eugenics programs, both here and in Germany, and were forced to separate only after the United States entered the war in 1941? Did you know that it was only at the end of World War II, when word of the Nazi concentration camps (a direct result of their eugenics program) spread around the world, that all the western nations closed the doors on their own eugenics programs, afraid of being associated with the Holocaust? And did you know that, at the end of World War II, the West's eugenics programs were not, in fact, "closed" but were merely transformed into what we now call genetics?
Yeah, I didn’t either. It might be the great untold story of the 20th century.
War Against the Weak, Edwin Black
Better For All the World, Harry Bruinius
The Unfit: A History of a Bad Idea, Elof Axel Carlson
Essays in Eugenics, Francis Galton
5) DI Offspring Literature: Besides a handful of articles and blog posts, would you believe there’s almost nothing whatsoever written from the perspective of a man or woman created by DI? Nothing. I'm sure the secrecy and shame that has long surrounded the practice has something to do with it. I heard about a young woman, a product of DI, who, several years ago, supposedly wrote a memoir in the ‘90s condemning the practice. She was taken on Larry King Live and hailed by Pat Robertson and other Religious Righters as evidence that donor insemination and all other RTs are unholy, unnatural, etc. But, after much research, I was unable to find this young woman’s name, her book, or her supposed appearance on Larry King.
 Think of the difference between Variety and People magazine: one caters to the industry insider and one caters to the consumer.
 When they say normal they typically mean Christian; many of these books inevitably (and understandably) talk about Man’s relationship to God and whether or not Man is supplanting God’s infinite wisdom and procreative decisions with Science.
 Incidentally, the only book I came across written by a donor.
 The brackets are mine.
 For my dollar anyway.
 All of this and much much more can be found at Edwin Black’s mind-boggling War Against the Weak.
 The most comprehensive blog is PCVAI (People Conceived Via Artificial Insemination) at yahoo, but you have to be a donor offspring to gain access.