Savalescu, a bioethicist professor, supports the selection of best children by parents given all genetic information about the children. In this case, Savalescu supports the killing of embryos arguing that killing is not bad as long as it results to benefits to the living and to those at risk of dying. Savalescu justifies killing of embryos in order to provide body organs to adults during transplantation process (Oakley, 190). In addition, Savalescu justifies human cloning as a way of providing tissues and organs to adults during transplantation. According to him, cloning raises no new ethical questions because if the society accepts the killing of embryos, then society should allow killing of clones.
The professor compares the situation of the nuclear disaster to embryo acquisition, also known as procreative beneficence (Mills, 65). He claims that a developing world will use nuclear technology to generate heat and light. Citizens’ lifestyles shift as a result of nuclear technology so they will now appreciate their lives better by being awake for longer periods of time. For a while, a nuclear power plant failure releases plutonium into the atmosphere, causing damage to the public. Pregnancy symptoms and physical anomalies affect the majority of children born after the nuclear disaster. Objecting to the nuclear tragedy, Savalescu argues, is akin to agreeing to a minor wrongdoing. He claims that if the government had not invested in the nuclear facility, no children would have been born since the disaster. He claims that although the nuclear explosion was incorrect, the society was not seriously affected, with the exception of death cases. If the population reacted to the tragedy, Savalescu claims that they had no right to appeal to his principle of procreative beneficence.
According to Holland (81), Savalescu justifies killing in order to save lives. In this case, killing of fetus may benefit the living when the fetus provide body organs for transplantation process. Killing of clones on the other hand, will also create benefits to the society because the organs provided by the clones are compatible with the parent adult. Hence, clones are efficient in providing organs for medical uses such as transplant and medical experiments.
The use of “preimplantation genetic diagnosis” (PGD) to select genes not impacted by the nuclear accident is Savalescu’s point in reference to the nuclear accident. A nuclear disaster not only causes bodily harm, but it also has long-term consequences for future generations. A nuclear disaster alters the genetic makeup of individuals, potentially affecting subsequent generations by the inheritance of undesirable genes (Mills, 27). In this scenario, Savalescu proposes using PGD to pick embryos thus killing those with nuclear defects. However, PGD can only be used in conjunction with in-vitro fertilization (IVF), in which the ova and sperm cells are fertilized outside the body before being inserted into the female’s body. Savalescu’s reasons for harmless wrongdoing make sense when it will change a child’s existence. Nuclear influenced genes, according to Savalescu, can have an effect on the lives of born children. This is due to the fact that the infants born would have physical abnormalities and therefore will not live a happy existence. According to Oakley (192), implementing the Savalescu theory of embryo selection can help to avoid a miserable existence for the unborn child. By choosing non-affected genes, parents may protect their children from the impact of nuclear emissions. This helps to mitigate the consequences of the nuclear disaster by keeping future generations from inheriting the harm. The claims of Savalescu aid in determining which embryos have the best probability of survival (Mills, 66). Procreative beneficence is critical in determining which genes are most likely to succeed and thrive. The inferior chromosomes, which are less able to succeed, are thus ignored by the parents. As a result, the issue of child mortality will be eliminated, and the rate of infant deaths will be reduced. Since only the best genes grow into embryos and ultimately offspring, Savalescu’s argument contributes to lowering population mortality rates. Since only non-disease genes predominate, this principle of embryo selection may serve to increase the population’s overall wellbeing.
Professor Savalescu argues that embryo selection allows the parents to make decisions about their reproductive life (Mills, 65). Information on genes enables parents to decide on the character traits they desire. Selection of embryos allows parents to eliminate the undesirable traits they do not want in their kids. Parents can determine traits such as the eyes color, hair color, IQ as well as the sex of their children. Therefore, embryo selection enables parents to have more control of their children’s characteristics unlike the normal reproduction method where parents have no control of their offspring’s characteristics. In the nuclear accident case, parents can eliminate the nuclear affected genes hence ensuring their children are unaffected by the nuclear.
Whereas Savalescu’s arguments are good in improving the qualities of the embryos and the born children, they also contain numerous flaws. According to Holland (77), one of the weaknesses of the professors’ argument is that, selection of embryos may result to social inequality. His arguments give parents the powers to choose the embryo’s characteristics. This may lead to lead infants with similar characteristics in the society such as gender, complexion, and height among others. Society inequality may lead to other social problems especially when a majority of the population is of the same sex.
Another argument against the professor’s concept is that while neglecting an embryo that has a disease gene for instance asthma, the method can discard embryos with various talents such as music, sports or any other talent (Holland, 77). This is because the genetic information available may not be able to give non-disease information such as talents. In this regard, an embryo with genetic susceptible to diseases such as asthma, sickle cell anemia and other diseases may at the same time contain huge talents potential. Therefore, procreative beneficence agitated by Savalescu may result to discarding of embryos with huge talents in different fields.
Procreative beneficence causes social dilemma since it may be difficult to tell which gene between the non- disease and disease genes are best for life (Oakley, 190). Savalescu’s argument brings the complex question of life duration and well-being. Discarding of disease genes may result to good life since certain diseases may prevent best life. However, best life may also entail developing talents and living with dignity. Savalescu’s support for procreative beneficence may lead to destruction of some of these talents that leads to best life. In this case, it is difficult to tell which gene will lead to best life.
Savalescu’s concept may lead to improvement of quality and life of embryos. This is mainly through discarding of disease genes and selection of embryos with the highest survival rates. His concept can also improve the population’s morbidity rates in that selected genes are the best and disease resistant. However, this concept has several flaws such as social inequality, destruction of talents and vagueness in determining genes that lead to best life. In this regard, normal reproduction process would be ideal to the society than Savalescu’s concept.
- Holland Stephen. Arguing About Bioethics. Abingdon, Oxon.Routledge, 2013.Print
- Mills, Catherine. Futures of Reproduction: Bioethics and Biopolitics. Dordrecht: Springer, 2011. Print.
- Oakley, Justin. Bioethics. Farnham, England: Ashgate, 2009. Print.