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Existing debate on procreative selection focuses on the well-being of the future child. However, selection decisions can also have significant effects on the well-being of others. Moreover, these effects may run in opposing directions; some traits conducive to the well-being of the selected child may be harmful to others, whereas other traits that limit the child's well-being may preserve or increase that of others. Prominent selection principles defended to date instruct parents to select a child, of the possible children they could have, likely to have a good (or nonbad) life, but they do not instruct parents to independently take the well-being of others into account. We refer to these principles as individualistic selection principles. We propose a new selection principle-Procreative Altruism-according to which parents have significant moral reason to select a child whose existence can be expected to contribute more to (or detract less from) the well-being of others than any alternative child they could have. We present the case for adopting Procreative Altruism alongside any of the major individualistic selection principles proposed to date and defend this two-principle model against a range of objections.

Original publication




Journal article


J Med Philos

Publication Date





400 - 419


behavioral genetics, eugenics, genetic selection, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, procreative beneficence, Altruism, Bioethics, Fertilization in Vitro, Genetic Testing, Humans, Morals, Parents, Philosophy, Medical, Preimplantation Diagnosis, Reproductive Behavior