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The papers of Burley and Harris, and Draper and Chadwick, in this issue, raise a problem: what should doctors do when patients request an option which is not the best available? This commentary argues that doctors have a duty to offer that option which will result in the individual affected by that choice enjoying the highest level of wellbeing. Doctors can deviate from this duty and submaximise--bring about an outcome that is less than the best--only if there are good reasons to do so. The desire to have a child which is genetically related provides little, if any, reason to submaximise. The implication for cloning, preimplantation diagnosis and embryo transfer is that doctors should only produce a clone or transfer embryos expected to enjoy a level of wellbeing which is less than that enjoyed by other children the couple could have, if there is a good reason to employ that technology. This paper sketches what might constitute a good reason to submaximise.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/jme.25.2.121

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Med Ethics

Publication Date

04/1999

Volume

25

Pages

121 - 126

Keywords

Analytical Approach, Genetics and Reproduction, Beneficence, Child Welfare, Cloning, Organism, Complicity, Decision Making, Disabled Persons, Ethics, Medical, Female, Genetic Diseases, Inborn, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Male, Moral Obligations, Patient Selection, Personal Autonomy, Pregnancy, Preimplantation Diagnosis, Social Values, Stress, Psychological