Gamete donation and parental responsibility
Journal of Applied Philosophy 2003; 20(1): 77-87
Unlike surrogacy and cloning, reproduction via gamete donation is widely assumed to be morally unproblematic. Recently, a number of authors have argued that this assumption is mistaken: gamete donors, they claim, have parental responsibilities that they typically treat too lightly. In this paper I argue that the `parental neglect' case against gamete donation fails. I begin by examining and rejecting the view that gamete donors have parental responsibilities; I claim that none of the current accounts of parenthood provides good reason for ascribing parenthood to gamete donors. I then argue that even if gamete donors do have parental responsibilities for `their' children, it is not clear that they treat these responsibilities too lightly. I conclude the paper by examining the wider question of just what kind of responsibilities gamete donors might have towards the children that they have a role in creating.
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