Internal WiP: Davide Battisti

Affecting future generations: why the Minimal Threshold Model is not an appropriate instrument to guide reproductive choices

According to the Minimal Threshold Model (MTM), every reproductive choice is morally legitimate except bringing children into the world when there are good reasons to think that their quality of life will fall below an acceptable threshold. Rebecca Bennet supports the MTM basing it on a notion of person-affecting harm (Bennett 2009, 2014). According to Bennett, as long as the resulting child has a life worth living, parents should be allowed to undergo Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) in order to select whatever embryo they prefer, including embryos with some kind of disability such as deafness. These parental choices should be conceived as preferences which are neutral from a moral point of view. I will assume the validity of Bennett’s perspective and I consider MTM an effective instrument dealing with reproductive choice in the field of PGD. In this paper, I will investigate whether MTM is always an appropriate tool to inform reproductive choices in the field of the continuous development of reproductive genetic technologies. I will present a new, and not still available, assisted reproductive technology that is germ-line genome editing (GGE) and I will provide reasons to affirm that such a technique should be conceived as a person-affecting one. In light of this, I will conclude that even if we assume the plausibility of MTM in the genetic selection, we are committed to accepting that a greater moral obligation toward progeny should guide reproductive choices in the field of GGE. As a consequence, MTM should be considered not appropriate to deal with parental decisions in the context of GGE.

Venue: Petrov Room, Suite 1 Littlegate House, 16-17 St Ebbe's Street, Oxford OX1 1PT

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