Conclusion

Reproductive behavior can be harmful to future children in three ways. First, reproductive practices can sometimes cause ordinary harm. These are injuries that could have been avoided if more care had been used, such as injuries caused by failure to store frozen embryos properly. Second, reproductive technology can result in a harmful life when the child who is born has a life that is not worth having. Finally, the interests of future children are harmed when the birth of an injured child could have been avoided by changes in conduct resulting in the birth of a different, healthier child. This kind of harm is avoidable by substitution. Clinics performing artificial insemination, for example, can prevent needless suffering by screening out high-risk donors. Responsible efforts to protect future children from harm should aim at minimizing each of the three types of harm to the extent that is consistent with parental procreative liberty.

PHILIP J. PETERS, JR.

SEE ALSO: Aging and the Aged: Anti-Aging Interventions; Children; Environmental Ethics; Environmental Health; Hazardous Wastes and Toxic Substances; Maternal-Fetal Relationship; Population Ethics; Sustainable Development; Technology

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