Morality andin vitro fertilization

Bioethics Quarterly 2 (1):6-19 (1980)
Abstract
The question of the morality ofin vitro fertilization is examined. One of the central questions to be answered is whether the zygote loss that seems inseparable from the process is morally justified. Even when embryo transfer occurs, many zygotes which have been intentionally created are intentionally destroyed; they are used as means to the alleged benefits that others will attain (the benefit to the infertile couple, to the child produced by the process, and to those who might benefit from the increase of genetic knowledge that allegedly will occur fromin vitro research).The justifications advanced in defense of early abortion are discussed, and it is shown that these justifications must be totally distinct from those advanced in support ofin vitro fertilization.A theory of values is proposed which shows why a set of reasons may justify early abortion, but not an abortion late in the pregnancy. This theory states that the value characteristics of an entity are notidentical to the characteristics which make the entityhuman.It is concluded that if certain key empirical assumptions are correct, then in vitro fertilization is a morally permissible process; however, the falsity of these assumptions, or the unsoundness of the theory of value, might well result in a reversal of this judgment
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