Thursday, December 08, 2005

Donor-Conceived Children

Interesting discussion over at Alas of donor-conceived children and how they do in life.

It's an interesting ethical question. We know that children with only one parent fare worse (on average) than children with two. Is it acceptable to deliberately bring a child into that situation?


J said...


Are you serious?

That's like saying, "We know that Black children fare worse (on average) than White children. Is it acceptable to deliberately bring a child into that situation?"

Or maybe it's unethical for the poor to have kids? They aren't (on average) going to do as well as wealthy kids.

Maybe it's wrong for anyone from Mississippi to have children because we could compare them (on average) with the children in Connecticut?

I could have a lot of fun with at sort of argument.

Republicans, on average, commit more white collar crimes than Democrats. Is it ethical, then, to deliberately be a Republican?

Robert said...

We do not control our race, so that counter-argument is null.

Whether it is ethical to have a child when you do not have sufficient resources ("poor" in your formulation) is an entirely valid question.

What state you're from is in this instance a simple statistical proxy for your economic situation; see second paragraph.

You are of course free to believe that it is unacceptable to even raise the question, but your counterexamples do nothing to advance that argument. I believe it is appropriate to raise the question, and would be delighted to have your thoughts on it.

J said...

I don't think it's unacceptable to raise any question; I just think the question doesn't take us very far.

There are thousands of variables that go into what makes a good home, a good childhood, and a good parent.

Saying whether it is ethical to bring a child into the world using a donor without any other considerations just seems too broad.

Also, it wasn't implied in your question that we were only to consider factors in one's "control".

I think it is an interesting ethical question whether parents who carry a terrible recessive gene that causes disease should have children. Those parents don't have "control" over their DNA, and the question is narrower than the one you posed.

mythago said...

We do not control our race

Non sequitur. Given that black children fare worse (on average) than white children, shouldn't any responsible black couple refrain from having a child, knowing their child is on average likely to be worse off than a white child?

You're also grandly oversimplifying the research. None of the little research that's been done has found disparities between two-parent households based on whether they were a heterosexual couple making babies through sex, or a homosexual couple making babies through insemination.