Choosing Disabilities and Enhancements in Children: A Choice too Far?

Reproductie Biomedicine Online 2009 (18 sup. 1):43-49 (2009)
Abstract
Some parents have taken steps to ensure that they have deaf children, a choice that contrasts with the interest that other parents have in enhancing the traits of their children. Julian Savulescu has argued that, morally speaking, parents have a duty to use assisted reproductive technologies to give their children the best opportunity of the best life. This view extends beyond that which is actually required of parents, which is only that they give children reasonable opportunities to form and act on a conception of a life that is good for them. Does the selection of deaf children violate that responsibility? Morally speaking, parents should refrain from using assisted reproductive treatments or prenatal interventions in order to have a child with a disability. Deafness and other disabilities represent intrinsic disadvantages that cannot be offset by other advantages that families and society can offer to people. By the same token, neither should parents seek enhancements of intelligence or physical traits that would undercut intrinsic goods of human life in similar ways. These moral arguments do not, however, sustain the judgment that the law should necessarily interfere with parents' decisions in these matters, even if those choices are morally unwise.
Keywords ethics  disabilities  children  prenatal diagnosis
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