Does Rule Utilitarianism Support in Vitro Fertilization?


Assisted reproductive technology (ART) by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is currently a commonplace technology that has successfully treated millions of infertile couples the world over. Rule Utilitarianism deals with the tendencies of actions to produce more pleasure and concerned with long term consequences.Use of Reproductive TechnologyThe extraction of gametes and in-vitro conception, namely the separation of reproduction and detached from the harmony, physiology and emotional psychology of sexual intercourse. This creates ethical issues of a spiritual character that touch upon the value of man and life. Rule Utilitarians concern about the IVF being used for selfish advantage as this would go against the general principle of social welfare for the maximal number of people.The right to a childA rights based ethic can become individual as new-born babies have rights, but they do not own any duties towards others. Rule Utilitarianism believed that with more families being more happier that those disappointed or in abusive situations then, the right to a child should be a law.The status of embryosThe frozen embryos have an uncertain fate. An embryo has no autonomy and therefore is not a person. For this reason it cannot feature in the higher and lower pleasure argument. Age of motherWhen it was found that infertility treatments can be applied to postmenopausal women,this would not have been possible. More happy people means more happiness, and is therefore considered better. Procreation AutonomyA right to procreate, which is grounded on the right to self-determination and on the right to found a family. Rule Utilitarianism reflects that if having a child will make people deeply unhappy, chances are the child's not going to turn out too happy either.A Rule Utilitarian might support the procedure of IVF if there is strong evidence to support the view that it will lead to a society in which the welfare of its members will be served.

Author Information
Kwan Yin Chiu, Independent Scholar, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2018
Stream: Ethics - Medical Ethics

This paper is part of the ACERP2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon