chapter  4
25 Pages

A relational approach to the welfare of the child

The welfare of a child is inextricably linked to the welfare of the family in which he/she will be raised. It is therefore unsatisfactory to focus solely on the individual interests of the child to be born in assisted reproduction. A more holistic approach to the welfare of the child – one that recognises the importance of connection and interdependence within a family – is needed in order to protect not only the child to be born but also the family that will enable the child to flourish. A comprehensive account of the welfare of the child to be born must therefore include the individual interests of the future child as well as the collective interests the child will share with his/her family. In this chapter, I propose a relational approach to the welfare of the child based on the notion of human flourishing. My relational approach acknowledges that, in order to flourish, a child needs not only to be treated with respect and protected from harm but also requires the intimacy, love and meaning that comes from being involved in the collective endeavour of family. I begin section 4.2 of this chapter by exploring the welfare of the child to

be born in the broader social context of his/her family. In particular, I examine the role of intimate families in promoting human flourishing. I use the term ‘intimate family’ to encompass a diverse range of family structures in which members are closely connected. Drawing from relational feminist and communitarian ethics, I argue that intimate families are not only instrumentally valuable to the children they rear, but also inherently valuable as they provide opportunities for the type of collective endeavour that is integral to a meaningful life. The welfare of the child is therefore inextricably tied up with the collective interests of his/her family. I explore the specific nature of collective interests in the context of saviour sibling selection in section 4.3. I argue that it is particularly important to consider the welfare of the family as a whole in relation to saviour sibling selection because the procedure affects all family members, in particular the interests of the parents and the existing ill child. Moreover, I explain how promoting the welfare of the family as a whole enhances the welfare of a saviour sibling.