Michelle L. McGowan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Bioethics
Co- Director, PhD Program in Bioethics
Women's and Gender Studies Program Faculty

Reproductive Ethics
Genetics and Ethics
Feminist Bioethics
Empirical Bioethics
Reproductive Technologies
Genetic and Genomic Testing
Women's Health
Gender in Medicine and Biomedical Research

e-mail: michelle.mcgowan@case.edu

NIH Biosketch


Michelle L. McGowan is an Assistant Professor of Bioethics and a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program Faculty at Case Western Reserve University. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Boston College, and a Ph.D. in Women Studies from the University of Washington. Dr. McGowan completed a predoctoral fellowship in ethical, legal, and social aspects of human genetics and biotechnology at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society in Graz, Austria, and postdoctoral training in bioethics at the Center for Genetic Research Ethics and Law at Case Western Reserve University. She currently serves as an associate editor for the journal Human Reproduction.

Dr. McGowan’s research is focused on the social and ethical implications of reproductive and genetic technologies in the United States. She is particularly interested in the motivations of users of reproductive and genetic technologies and how they conceptualize the risks and benefits of their use. She is also interested in how the perspectives of users of novel technologies can contribute to bioethical discourse and the development of social policy. Her recent scholarship has focused specifically on participation in egg donation, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, fertility preservation, carrier screening, and direct-to-consumer and clinical genomic testing. Dr. McGowan teaches courses on reproductive ethics, ethical aspects of genetics and genomics, international women's health issues, qualitative research methodologies and critical readings in bioethics.

Selected Publications

McGowan, Michelle L., Allison Glinka, Janelle Highland, George Asaad, Richard R. Sharp. (2013). “Genetics patients’ perspectives on clinical genomic testing.” Personalized Medicine, 10(4), 339-347.

Cho, Deborah, Michelle L. McGowan, Jonathan Metcalfe, Richard R. Sharp. (2013).“Expanded carrier screening in reproductive healthcare: perspectives from specialists in medical genetics.” Human Reproduction, 28(6), 1725-1730.

McGowan, Michelle L., Deborah Cho & Richard R. Sharp. (2013). “The changing landscape of carrier screening: expanding technology and options?” Health Matrix, 23(1), 15-33.

McGowan, Michelle L. and Richard R. Sharp. (2013). “Justice in the context of family balancing.” Science, Technology & Human Values, 38(2), 271-293.

Heidt-Forsythe, Erin & Michelle L. McGowan. (2013).“Whose right to know? The subjectivity of mothers in mandatory paternity testing.” The American Journal of Bioethics, 13(5):42-44.

Juengst, Eric T, Settersten Jr., Richard A., Fishman, Jennifer R., McGowan, Michelle L. (2012). "After the Revolution? Ethical and Social Challenges in 'Personalized Genomic Medicine'." Personalized Medicine, 9(4), 429-439.

Sharp, Richard R., Michelle L. McGowan, Jonathan A. Verma, David C. Landy, Sallie McAdoo, Sandra A. Carson, Joe Leigh Simpson & Laurence B. McCullough. (2010). “Moral Attitudes and Beliefs among Couples Pursuing PGD for Sex Selection.” Reproductive Biomedicine Online, 21, 838-847.

McGowan, Michelle L., Jennifer R. Fishman and Marcie A. Lambrix. (2010). Personal Genomics and Individual Identities: Motivations and Moral Imperatives of Early Users. New Genetics and Society, 29(3), 261-290.

McGowan, Michelle L. (2010). “Participation in investigational fertility preservation research: a feminist research ethics approach.” In T.K. Woodruff, L. Zoloth, L. Campo-Engelstein, & S. Rodriguez (Eds.), Oncofertility: Ethical, Legal, Social and Medical Perspectives. (pp. 209-221). New York: Springer.

Kenney, Nancy J. & Michelle L. McGowan. (2010). Looking Back: Egg Donors’ Retrospective Evaluations of Their Motivations, Expectations and Experiences during Their First Donation Cycle. Fertility and Sterility, 93(2), 455-466.

McGowan, Michelle L., Chris Burant, Rocio Moran, and Ruth Morgan Farrell. (2009). “Patient Education and Informed Consent for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: Health Literacy for Genetics and Assisted Reproductive Technology.” Genetics in Medicine, 11(9), 640-645.

McGowan, Michelle L. & Jennifer R. Fishman. (2008). Using Lessons Learned from BRCA Testing and Marketing: What Lies Ahead for Whole Genome Scanning Services. The American Journal of Bioethics, 8(6), 18-20.

Recent Activities

Implementing proper use of genomic tests to select therapeutics, Bioethics panelist, Impact of Genomics on Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: Open Drug Policy Forum, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, June 2013.

Sex selection for family balancing: individual, familial and social justice perspectives. Flora Stone Mather Center for Women Spring Salon Series, Cleveland, OH, March 2013.

Justice in the context of family balancing. Society for Social Studies of Science, Copenhagen, Denmark. October 2012.

Contact Information

Michelle L. McGowan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Bioethics
Case Western Reserve University
10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland OH 44106-4976

Office: 216-368-0735
Fax: 216-368-8713

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