chapter  7
8 Pages


Advancements in assisted reproductive technologies during the last 20 years have increased the potential for parents to select the genetic traits of their children. Some types of selection are more controversial than others and raise questions about how much choice parents should have over the characteristics of their children. Using PGD to screen out serious genetic diseases, for example, is generally considered to be more acceptable than using this technology to select a particular ‘type’ of child, such as a saviour sibling or a child of a particular sex or physical appearance. The latter forms of selective reproduction raise ethical concerns about the welfare of the child to be born and the nature of the parent/child relationship. These ethical concerns pose new regulatory challenges, which have not always been adequately addressed in the past. As revealed in Chapter 2, early attempts to regulate saviour sibling selection in the UK were met with widespread criticism and legal challenge. A significant obstacle faced by the HFEA in developing its early policy on saviour sibling selection was the fact that there was no clearly articulated ethical approach underlying the welfare of the child provision in UK ART legislation. At the heart of the problem of regulating selective reproduction is the fact

that, although reproductive decision-making is generally thought of as a private matter, enabling parents to select the genetic traits of their children has potential adverse implications for society as a whole and, more specifically, the child to be born. The primary goal of this book has been to explore the concerns associated with the welfare of the child in selective reproduction and to propose a regulatory solution that adequately protects the child to be born without unduly curtailing reproductive choice. As discussed in Chapter 3, concerns about commodification and harm have dominated the debate about selective reproduction and led to an individualistic approach to the welfare of the child to be born that is reflected in UK and Australian regulation. While the individual interests of the child are important, the welfare of the child is inextricably connected with the welfare of his/her family. The relational approach to the welfare of the child to be born proposed in Chapter 4 provides a more comprehensive account of the child’s individual and collective family interests.