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A rights-based perspective

Bioethics interview
Making babies in the 21st Century

Lucy Frith is a reader in Bioethics and Social Science at the University of Liverpool. She shares some findings from her research about the ways donor-conceived children have found out about their genetic heritage, and the practical implications of secrecy.

Dr Frith too believes in the importance of reproductive freedom. However, she also believes that children have the right to know their biological heritage, and that parents have an obligation to be open with their children about their donor-conceived status.

The other concern that is highlighted here is interests of the child. At times, the interest of the child can be at odds with parental freedom. For example, the desire to keep secret that a child is donor-conceived, could mean that the child is prevented from knowing important genetic information about themselves.

Again this discussion highlights how we often encounter a balancing of rights, where we have to decide which of two rights is primary. Dr Frith is clear that for her, the interests of the child to know, outweigh the interests of the parents to keep the donation a secret.

For your discussion: Where do you stand? Do you think there is sufficient grounds for saying that parents have a duty to tell? And can you think of ways in which it might not be in the interest of the child to know?

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Making Babies in the 21st Century

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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