, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 51-60

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: Choosing the “Good Enough” Child

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Abstract

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) raises serious moral questions concerning the parent-child relationship. Good parents accept their children unconditionally: they do not reject/attack them because they do not have the features they want. There is nothing wrong with treating a child as someone who can help promote some other worthwhile end, providing the child is also respected as an end in him or herself. However, if the child's presence is not valued in itself, regardless of any further benefits it brings, the child is not being treated as an end in the full sense of the term. In this paper, I argue that these principles apply to human embryos, as well as to born human offspring: the human moral subject is a bodily being, whose interests and rights begin with the onset of his or her bodily life. The rights of the living, bodily human individual include a right not to be attacked/abandoned because of his or her genetic profile. PGD is harmful to the parent-child relationship, and we give mixed messages to parents by expecting them to show unconditional commitment to offspring after birth, while inviting them to take a very different approach at the prenatal stage.