Genetic ties: Are they morally binding?

Bioethics 20 (2):64–76 (2006)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

ABSTRACT Does genetic relatedness define who is a mother or father and who incurs obligations towards or entitlements over children? While once the answer to this question may have been obvious, advances in reproductive technologies have complicated our understanding of what makes a parent. In a recent publication Bayne and Kolers argue for a pluralistic account of parenthood on the basis that genetic derivation, gestation, extended custody and sometimes intention to parent are sufficient (but not necessary) grounds for parenthood.1 Bayne and Kolers further suggest that definitions of parenthood are underpinned by the assumption that ‘being causally implicated in the creation of a child is the key basis for being its parent’.2 This paper examines the claim that genetic relatedness is sufficient grounds for parenthood based on a causal connection between genetic parents and their offspring. I argue that parental obligations are about moral responsibility and not causal responsibility because we are not morally accountable for every consequence to which we causally contribute. My account includes the conditions generally held to apply to moral responsibility, i.e. freedom and foreseeability. I argue that parental responsibilities are generated whenever the birth of a child is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of voluntary actions. I consider the implications of this account for third parties involved in reproductive technologies. I argue that under some conditions the obligations generated by freely and foreseeably causing a child to exist can be justifiably transferred to others.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,075

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
126 (#144,463)

6 months
9 (#311,219)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Giuliana Fuscaldo
Deakin University

References found in this work

Principles of biomedical ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by James F. Childress.
Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.
Utilitarianism.J. S. Mill - 1861 - Oxford University Press UK. Edited by Roger Crisp.
Two treatises of government.John Locke - 1947 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Peter Laslett.

View all 88 references / Add more references