Choosing Future People: Reproductive Technologies and Identity

In Vardit Ravitsky, Autumn Fiester & Arthur L. Caplan (eds.), The Penn Center Guide to Bioethics. Springer Publishing Company. pp. 307-317 (2009)
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Reproductive technologies do not allow us to choose future people, but they do change who will exist. Confusion arises because of the different senses in which ”identity’ is used in ethical debate. I distinguish qualitative, cultural, and numerical identity. Reproductive choices do impact the qualitative features of children in ways that affect wellbeing, both directly and indirectly via cultural identification. I explain how the nonidentity problem makes it difficult to say what, if anything, is wrong with risky reproductive choices, and I outline four strategies or responding to the non-identity problem.



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Mark Edward Greene
University of Delaware

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