Like a Virgin

Pages: 288
Subject: Popular Science
Imprint: Oneworld

Like a Virgin

How Science is Redesigning the Rules of Sex

Aarathi Prasad

A rising star of pop science investigates whether virgin birth might be possible in the near future - and what it will mean to the family
9781851689118 (16 Aug 2012)
RRP £12.99 / US$19.95

The Book

Most cultures tell the tale of a maiden who gives birth untouched by a man, and in the wild there are plenty of creatures – turkeys, Komodo ‘dragons’, and the ‘Jesus Christ’ lizard (which even walks on water) – that take various approaches to making babies without having sex. Soon, humans will have that option, too.


In Like a Virgin, biologist and science writer Aarathi Prasad examines inconceivable ideas about conception, from a Renaissance recipe for creating a child (bury semen in manure for forty days) to the search for a real-life virgin mother in the 1950s. She then takes us to maverick, cutting-edge labs that are today inventing sex-less reproduction, from manufactured eggs to artificial wombs and beyond. Like a Virgin delivers an astonishing exploration of the mysteries of sex and evolution – past, present, and future.

Additional Information

Subject Popular Science
Pages 288
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Aarathi Prasad is a biologist and science writer. She has appeared on TV and radio programmes, including as presenter of Channel 4’s controversial Is It Better to Be Mixed Race? and Brave New World with Stephen Hawking. Previously a cancer genetics researcher at Imperial College London, she subsequently moved out of the lab and into the worlds of science communication and policy, in areas including the passage in the UK Parliament of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. A single mother, Dr Prasad lives in London.


"Think of her as the female equivalent of Brian Cox making science accessible for the masses... Entertaining and provocative, this promises to change the way you think about sex."

- Stylist

"A fascinating examination of a future that may not be too distant, as well as an account of historical misconceptions about conception."

- Kirkus Reviews

"[Prasad's] elegantly written romp through the science and history of conception is conceivably as much fun as you’ll ever have thinking about sex without working up a sweat."

- Publishers Weekly