Selecting potential children and unconditional parental love

Bioethics 22 (5):258–268 (2008)
For now, the best way to select a child's genes is to select a potential child who has those genes, using genetic testing and either selective abortion, sperm and egg donors, or selecting embryos for implantation. Some people even wish to select against genes that are only mildly undesirable, or to select for superior genes. I call this selection drift– the standard for acceptable children is creeping upwards. The President's Council on Bioethics and others have raised the parental <span class='Hi'>love</span> objection: Just as we should <span class='Hi'>love</span> existing children unconditionally, so we should unconditionally accept whatever child we get in the natural course of things. If we set conditions on which child we get, we are setting conditions on our <span class='Hi'>love</span> for whatever child we get. Although this objection was prompted by selection drift, it also seems to cover selecting against genes for severe impairments. I argue that selection drift is not inconsistent with the ideal of unconditional parental <span class='Hi'>love</span> and, moreover, that the latter actually implies that we should practise selection drift – in other words, we should try to select potential children with the best genetic endowments. My endowment argument for the second claim works from an analogy between arranging an endowment prior to conception to fund a future child's education, and arranging a genetic endowment by selecting a potential child who already has it, where in both cases the child would not have existed without the endowment. I conclude with some programmatic remarks about the nonidentity problem.
Keywords designer baby  perfect children  gene selection  preimplantation genetic diagnosis  embryo selection  potential children  nonidentity problem
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00628.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,831
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

64 ( #50,956 of 1,724,747 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #167,193 of 1,724,747 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.