WEH/Ethox Seminar: Social Construction, False Consciousness and the Preference for a Genetically Related Child

Status: This talk is in preparation - details may change
Status: This talk has been cancelled

Recent developments in the field of assisted conception have reignited normative debates on the ethical acceptability and desirability of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). One core feature of these debates is that many of these technologies enable the satisfaction of people’s preference to have genetically related children; this potentiality functions both as an argument in favour of and against their development and implementation. In my presentation, I will discuss critiques of ARTs as technologies that enable people to have genetically related children and hence fulfil their preferred parental project. In particular, I will focus on critiques that characterise this preference as socially constructed and an instance of false consciousness in order to ground normative arguments against developing and implementing ARTs. My argument is that these views rely on problematic descriptive and normative claims, which ultimately fail to promote users’ autonomy and well-being. I will conclude by arguing that liberal defences of ARTs could better promote users’ autonomy and well-being but also that such defences need to pay attention to the socio-political (oppressive) circumstances in which these technologies are developed and implemented in order to truly promote users’ autonomy and well-being.