Bioethics and Fatherhood

Daniel Callahan

in The Roots of Bioethics

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199931378
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980598 | DOI:
Bioethics and Fatherhood

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Sperm donation was originally introduced in the name of a medical relief of infertility, and it was understood that it would ordinarily take place anonymously. The donor is in effect allowed to forgo the usual moral responsibility of parenthood, that of being a father with duties to his children. This chapter argues that was a mistake: a donor of sperm remains the biological father of the procreated child, even if society relieves him of that obligation. It should not do so. One reason for that judgment is that too often historically men have abandoned their procreated children, and this is simply another way of allowing them to do so. It is particularly strange that many feminists ignore that commonplace male reality and officially seem to bless it in this case. It is often argued that the essence of parenthood lies in the love of and commitment to a child, not in the biological relationship. Yet, the desire of a woman to use a sperm donor so that she can have a biologically related child assumes that the woman’s desire for the biological relationship is enough to ignore the relationship with the donor. There is a fundamental contradiction here about parenthood.

Keywords: IVF; sperm donation; responsibility; feminists; fatherhood

Chapter.  4812 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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