Identity, harm, and the ethics of reproductive technology

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 31 (1):83 – 95 (2006)
Abstract
The controversial question of whether a future child can be harmed by the use of reproductive technology turns on the way that the future child's identity is understood. As a result, analysis of the ethical and legal obligations to the children of reproductive technology that are based upon the possibility of such harm depends upon the conception of identity that is used. This paper reviews the contributions of two recent books, David DeGrazia's Human Identity and Bioethics (2005) and Philip Peters' How Safe is Safe Enough? (2004) to this area of inquiry. It suggests that the use of a narrative rather than numerical conception of identity makes it possible to coherently claim that future children can be harmed by the use of reproductive technologies and that, as a result, potential parents can have obligations regarding the use of those technologies based upon that possibility of harm.
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