Attitudes, intentions and procreative responsibility in current and future assisted reproduction

Bioethics 37 (5):449-461 (2023)
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Abstract

Procreative obligations are often discussed by evaluating only the consequences of reproductive actions or omissions; less attention is paid to the moral role of intentions and attitudes. In this paper, I assess whether intentions and attitudes can contribute to defining our moral obligations with regard to assisted reproductive technologies already available, such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), and those that may be available in future, such as reproductive genome editing and ectogenesis, in a way compatible with person‐affecting constraints. I propose the parent–child relationship argument, which is based on the moral distinction between creating and parenting a child. Hence, I first argue that intentions and attitudes can play a role in defining our moral obligations in reproductive decisions involving PGD. Second, I maintain that if we accept this and recognize reproductive genome editing and ectogenesis as person‐affecting procedures, we should be committed to arguing that prospective parents may have moral reasons to prefer reproduction via such techniques than via sexual intercourse. In both cases, I observe an extension of our procreative responsibility beyond what is proposed by the consequentialist person‐affecting morality.

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Davide Battisti
University of Bergamo

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