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What does it mean to be a parent?

Bronwyn Parry
Fertility ethics
Fertility industry
Ethical consideration
Un-regulated Vs Regulated

Bronwyn Parry is a professor of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King’s College London and a member of the KCL/UCL Joint Bioethics Colloquium, a collaborative forum that explores inter-disciplinary themes in bioethics.

In this segment, she introduces some of the issues and concerns that particularly affect unregulated fertility arrangements, as well as some of the merits of this approach.

The first issue that she tackles here is the issue of consent. Key to this is that the consent is given freely. In the context of elective co-parenting, this can sometimes be tricky. For example, there may be a conflict of interests, when a donor and a recipient want different outcomes.

Safety is another issue that is important whenever we are talking about exchange of gametes (sperm and egg). When individuals donate in a clinic, this is strictly safeguarded by quarantining sperm for up to six months to test for any developing infection, and donors usually undergo genetic screening for hereditary abnormalities.

Finally, Professor Parry expands on the whole notion of parenthood. What does it mean to be a parent today, when there can be so many different ways to be involved in a child’s life.

For discussion: What does parenthood mean to you? How many different types of parenthood have you encountered? To what extent is it a biological link, and to what extent a social relationship?

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Making Babies in the 21st Century

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