The Moral Obligation To Create Children
With The Best Chance Of The Best Life

Savulescu J, Kahane G
University of Oxford,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.
Bioethics. 2008 Nov 28.


According to what we call the Principle of Procreative Beneficence (PB), couples who decide to have a child have a significant moral reason to select the child who, given his or her genetic endowment, can be expected to enjoy the most well-being. In the first part of this paper, we introduce PB, explain its content, grounds, and implications, and defend it against various objections. In the second part, we argue that PB is superior to competing principles of procreative selection such as that of procreative autonomy. In the third part of the paper, we consider the relation between PB and disability. We develop a revisionary account of disability, in which disability is a species of instrumental badness that is context- and person-relative. Although PB instructs us to aim to reduce disability in future children whenever possible, it does not privilege the normal. What matters is not whether future children meet certain biological or statistical norms, but what level of well-being they can be expected to have.
Julian Savulescu
Private eugenics
'Designer babies'
Procreative liberty
Personal genomics
Genetic enhancement
Ashkenazi intelligence
Eugenics before Galton
Scandanavian eugenics
The literature of eugenics
Human self-domestication
Germline genetic engineering
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
Beneficence, determinism and justice
A life without pain? Hedonists take note'
'The Principle of Procreative Beneficence'
Francis Galton and contemporary eugenics
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
Principle of Procreative Beneficence vs Acceptable Suffering?

and further reading

BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World