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The value of being biologically related to one's family
  1. Rebecca Roache
  1. Correspondence to Rebecca Roache, Royal Holloway, University of London, Department of Philosophy, Egham, Surrey, UK; rebecca.roache{at}

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In considering the value to parents of being biologically related to their children, Ezio Di Nucci probes into a mysterious and difficult-to-weigh sort of value, given that it tends to correlate with other important values such as the parent-child relationship. Di Nucci is concerned with exploring the fertility technology of IVF-with-ROPA (reception of oocytes from partner). This technology enables women in same-sex relationships to become parents of a child to whom they are both biologically related in different ways. One partner gestates a baby using eggs donated by the other partner; as a result, one partner is gestationally related to the resultant child, while the other partner is genetically related.

There are various reasons why lesbian aspiring parents—and aspiring parents in general—might wish to be biologically related to their children. Di Nucci considers the question of whether parents ought to value biological relatedness to their children. He concludes that, while the wish to be biologically related to one's children is not objectionable (so, the state ought not to interfere with it), there is no further value to being biologically related to one's children beyond satisfying this wish.

I will discuss two issues in relation to this fascinating topic. First, I will place pressure on the view that the wish to be biologically related to one's children is not objectionable. Second, I observe that talk of the value of being biologically related to one's children is ambiguous: there is more than one value at stake, and this has implications for our decisions about what values to support in fertility treatment.

A legitimate wish for biological relatedness

Di Nucci claims that wanting to have ‘a biological connection (either genetic or gestational) to one's children’ is non-objectionable in the sense of being ‘legitimate’. He goes on to explain: ‘The language of positive and negative rights may help illustrate this …

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