The Right to a Child

IVF- In Vitro Fertilisation

Women may want to use IVF for the following reasons:

  • Naturalistic urges- (Naturalistic fallacy counteracts this)
  •  Liberty- privelege given to women by society .
  • Event of child rights

Issues raised

  • What about the fertilitsed eggs?
  • Moral stauts of biological father
  • Multiple births can lead to octo mum situation

Who should be permitted to have IVF?

  • The law allows any women to have IVF, even those in their 50's and 60's but this goes against natural order and the parents may die before their child grows to adulthood
  • Now lesbians can have children based on 'supportive parenting' basis


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The surrogate mother dilemma

Is it morally right for the mother to have acted for the 3rd party?

  • Issue with homosexuals as current rules make it possible but complicated for men to have a child because of the need for a female role model
  • Being paid- opens up issue of exploitation. Cecile Febe sees it as a job like prostitution because of how the body is used

Other IVF issues

  • Expensive treatment  for the NHS as utilitarians raise view of welfare cost benifit analysis. Fertility treatment is not always succesful therefore money is limited and services have to prioritized.
  • Some argue that there is no point- as IVF is not actually a service for health
  • However, others sees the pyschological welfare as a long term cost because of depression etc
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Christian Ethics

Christian approach- Roman Catholics rely heavily on Natural Law framework. They also rely on the Donum Vitae which examined catholic attitudes to IVF treatment. Two issues found

  • What happens to the fertilised egg
  • IVF does not help the church's voluntary adoption agencies
  • Life is sacred- Donum Vitae said government must control the use of eggs

Gift of God- A child is a blessing.

  • Rights suggest women have natural urges to have children but CHURCH reject this by support for chasity and virginity
  • Protestants- see IVF as a gift from God. They see the use of factual experiment a good things as they do not agree life begins at conception. However, there does need to be limits
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Natural Law & Kant

  • Masturbation is an immoral act and is self indulgent. It can only be justifiable if its intent is pro-creation. However, in the case of IVF it is wrong. If the sperm is from another man and not the husband it disrupts the family unit.
  • Unnatural pregnancy- The conception of the foetus is not natural.
  • Surrogacy is an issue but if it works to a telos then it is fine.
  • Some argue IVF conforms to Aquinas' precept of pro-creation. IVF also protects our species.

Some Natural Law theorists take the law of unintended consequence where the large number or rejected embryo's is the consequence.

Kantian Ethics

  • We have competing duties where we may feel a duty to satisfy ourselves. If love is involved it clouds judgement
  • Kant believed in extreme duty when rejecting self interest. E.g you have duty to others like the NHS as the £ from IVF could save lives
  • Principle of Universalizability- if it is wrong for one, it is wrong for all
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There is no single approach

  • Saul Smilanksy says IVF increases human welfare. The cost cut welfare cost analysis can be applied as the long term consequence of IVF may be for  greater than short term consequences
  • Family life is the bedrock of society. An ageing populating needs younger people for society.
  • Consequentalist system and the weakness is not knowing what the long term effect will really be
  • Rule utilitarians would want a rule of thumb and IVF benifits society as a whole.
  • Rule would not want IVF being used for selfish desires
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