Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 12, Issue 8, pp 543–551 | Cite as

A Philosopher looks at assisted reproduction

  • Bonnie Steinbock
Medical Ethics


The article first examines the various objections to IVF: religious, health and safety, and feminist. It is argued that none of these objections provides good reasons for banning IVF, though certain controls and procedures to protect individuals from harm and exploitation may be appropriate. Next, the article critiques John Robertson's strong conception of procreative liberty, which entails a right to be a surrogate mother or serve as a sperm donor. Robertson's interpretation misconceives the nature and value of the right to reproduce. The right to reproduce is best interpreted as a right to have one's own children to rear. Where there is no intent or ability to rear, there is no fundamental moral right to reproduce. However, since assisted reproduction is used to enable individuals to have their own children to rear, it should be available to infertile individuals who cannot otherwise reproduce.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bonnie Steinbock
    • 1
  1. 1.University at Albany/SUNYAlbany

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