Reproductive Technologies and Human Dignity

Nov 18, 2019 by

Given the risks of assisted reproductive technologies and gene-editing technologies for both individuals and society as a whole, a hands-off, libertarian approach to these issues is ethically irresponsible. Because these technologies imply a radical transformation in our understanding of the meaning of parenthood and our approach to the next generation, we must ask ourselves what sort of world these technologies are creating, and whether it is the sort of world that we want for our children and grandchildren.

Scientific innovations over the past half century have dramatically increased our technical mastery over human life in its origins. Up until very recently, human procreation has been outside of our direct control. If one wanted a child of one’s own, one needed to find a willing partner of the opposite sex and be sexually intimate with that person— usually not just once but on a regular basis over an extended period of time—in hope that one of those encounters would lead to the conception of a new human being. Moreover, one could only hope, but not do anything to ensure, that the child thus conceived would be relatively healthy.

Today things look very different.

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