The Ethics of Genetically Enhancing Children Essay

The Ethics of Genetically Enhancing Children Essay

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Medical professionals today can screen for certain genetic traits (genetic diseases and sex) with in vitro fertilization and preimplantation genetic diagnosis to obtain a healthy child, and reproductive technology continues to improve. With this in mind, the question arises whether sex selection is ethical. Julian Savulescu, Uehiro Professor of Practical Ethics at Oxford University, argues that sex selection is moral, based on his ethical principle of Procreative Beneficence: that “couples (or single reproducers) should select the child, of the possible children they could have, who is expected to have the best life, or at least as good a life as the others, based on the relevant, available information” [Savulescu 1]. Savulescu claims parents should select non-disease genes (including sex) because (1) genes affect quality of life and (2) we have information available to help with reproductive decision-making, so (3) the ethical choice is to utilize the information to select embryos that are most likely to have the best life. However, despite this argument, sex selection may be seen as unethical even if selection of some other non-disease genes is ethical, and therefore Savulescu’s ideas may require modification. The ethics of an action can be assessed by two reasonable criteria: the value the action reflects and its consequences for society. Sex selection is unethical because sex should be irrelevant to the predicted well-being of the child in a society that embraces the ethical principal of gender equality, and instead sex selection is a tool to make a choice about someone else’s life for only selfish reasons and convenience, a dehumanizing act that diminishes the virtue of acceptance and has no concern for the fate of society o...


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...r a more equal society rather than reinforces discrimination. Savulescu’s Procreative Beneficence, to be an ethical standard, needs to be redefined so that a parent should only have the right to select genes that would improve the well-being of a child which can rationally be argued to matter regardless of the society in which one lives. Gender selection to avoid gender linked disorders would remain ethical under this definition. The code of ethics would also still include selection for genes that enhance health, not just avoid genetic disorders. However, sex selection is irrelevant for Procreative Beneficence and unethical. Reproductive liberty does not unhesitatingly trump harmful social consequences. Embracing the values of equality and acceptance, in conjunction with maintaining a high well-being for everyone, is the ethical standard to which we should aspire.

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The Ethics of Genetically Enhancing Children Essay

- Medical professionals today can screen for certain genetic traits (genetic diseases and sex) with in vitro fertilization and preimplantation genetic diagnosis to obtain a healthy child, and reproductive technology continues to improve. With this in mind, the question arises whether sex selection is ethical. Julian Savulescu, Uehiro Professor of Practical Ethics at Oxford University, argues that sex selection is moral, based on his ethical principle of Procreative Beneficence: that “couples (or single reproducers) should select the child, of the possible children they could have, who is expected to have the best life, or at least as good a life as the others, based on the relevant, available...   [tags: Genetic Engineering ]

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