Principles of procreative beneficence (PPBs) hold that parents
have good reasons to select the child with the best life
prospects. Sparrow (2010) claims that PPBs imply that we
should select only female children, unlesswe attach normative
significance to “normal” human capacities. We argue
that this claim fails on both empirical and logical grounds.
Empirically, Sparrow’s argument for greater female wellbeing
rests on a selective reading of the evidence and the
incorrect assumption that an advantage for females would
persist even when a serious gender imbalance is obtained.
Logically, PPBs cite only pro tanto reasons and allow that
the good of an individual child could be outweighed by
other morally relevant considerations, such as those which
take collectively suboptimal outcomes into account. There
is thus no need to attach value to the “normal.”