Article Text

Download PDFPDF
The moral obligation to have genetically related children
  1. Guido Pennings
  1. Philosophy and Moral Science, Universiteit Gent, Gent, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Guido Pennings, Philosophy and Moral Science, Universiteit Gent, Gent, 9000, Belgium; guido.pennings{at}


Donor conceived persons are likely to have a lower quality of life than persons who are genetically related to both parents. Empirical evidence is presented to corroborate this point. The evidence is subdivided into three sections: (1) negative experience of the donor conception itself, (2) negative effects of secrecy and openness and (3) negative effects of donor anonymity and donor identifiability. The principle of procreative beneficence requires parents to select the child with the best possible life. Given the difference in quality of life, intended parents should try to have a genetically related child. This finding is also a strong reason for society to invest public resources in the development of techniques that enable people to create genetically related children.

  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Insemination- Artificial
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Reproductive Medicine

Data availability statement

No data are available.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors The author developed the argument and wrote the paper. GP is acting as the guarantor of this paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer-reviewed.