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Human reproduction: irrational but in most cases morally defensible
  1. R Bennett
  1. Correspondence to:
 R Bennett
 University of Manchester, Manchester, UK;

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While I am inclined to agree that in most cases a choice to become pregnant and bring to birth a child is an irrational choice, unlike Professor Häyry,1 I believe that choosing to do so is far from being necessarily immoral. In fact I will argue that it is often these irrational (but morally defensible) choices which make human life the valuable commodity many of us believe it is.

Häyry argues that not only is the choice to have children always an irrational choice, but also it is necessarily an immoral choice. Thus, for Häyry “human reproduction is fundamentally immoral”.1 He claims it is important to point out to prospective parents that their urge to have children is irrational. From this, he argues, it follows that once this is accepted the use of advance technologies to assist conception should be reassessed, and furthermore, the irrationality and immorality of having children should become a legitimate part of guidance given to those expressing a wish to have children.

According to Häyry the reason it is irrational and immoral to choose to bring to birth a child is that “having a child can always realistically lead to the worse possible outcome, when the alternative is not having a child”.1 He argues that when people consider having children they are faced with the choice between deciding not to have children and thus harming or benefiting no-one (this, it is argued has a value of zero), or having children where this life may be good or bad, and thus the value of this choice can be …

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