Sexual Reproduction Is a Survival Lottery

I have argued that because human sexual reproduction inevitably involves the creation and destruction of embryos, it is a problematic activity for those who believe that the embryo is “one of us.” Or, if it is not a problematic activity, then neither is the creation and destruction of embryos for a purpose of comparable moral seriousness—the development of lifesaving therapy, for example. I assume that, whereas it is possible for the very first act of unprotected intercourse to result in a live human baby, and hence not in a given case cause any embryo loss, this is a rare event and that, statistically, for every live birth from three to five embryos must be created only to die. For dramatic effect, I assume that five is a reasonable figure, giving each embryo a 20% chance of survival; however, nothing in the argument depends on any specific figures being correct. a
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DOI 10.1017/S0963180104231127
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