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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

26 SEP 2011

Between unconditional acceptance and responsibility: should family ethics limit the scope of reproductive autonomy? [2009] CFLQ 309

Reproductive technologies have an influence on the perception of the family and its structure. A particular issue is whether reproductive autonomy should include the right to influence the characteristics of the newborn. The paper investigates this question in two different aspects: first, when sex selection of the future child for social purposes is requested through preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), and second, when genetic testing is used for medical purposes to avoid the birth of a child with a disease or disability. I argue that the moral values of the family, with an emphasis on unconditional love and acceptance, should prevent the use of sex selection for social purposes. As for medical purposes, I argue that the moral responsibility of the prospective parents to the future child may influence the decision of whether to undergo termination of pregnancy or destruction of fertilised eggs. Ultimately, therefore, the moral values of the family should be considered when a decision for medical purposes is made.

‘To love this particular child is to love his disability as well.'

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