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‘No’ to lesbian motherhood using human nuclear genome transfer


Giulia Cavaliere and César Palacios-González argue that lesbian couples should have access to human nuclear genome transfer (so-called mitochondrial replacement) so that both members of the couple can have a genetic link to the child they intend to parent. Their argument is grounded in an appeal to reproductive freedom. In this Response, I address a number of concerns with their argument. These concerns relate to nomenclature, treating like cases alike, genetic-relatedness and the limits of reproductive rights. On this last point, I insist that we should not mistake ‘wants’ for ‘needs’ or ‘rights’. I maintain that there is no right to biological parenthood, there is no compelling need for human nuclear genome transfer to satisfy a so-called need for genetically-related children, and we ought not to pander to an acquired desire (ie, want) for genetic filiation.

  • ethics
  • reproductive medicine
  • genetic engineering

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