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Robert Sparrow has recently raised the possibility that stem cell technology could in the future be used to create multiple generations of embryos in the laboratory before transferring one embryo to a woman’s womb to create a pregnancy. Sparrow argues that any children produced in this way would be genetic orphans—they would lack living genetic parents—and explores the possible moral implications of this. A number of other authors have raised objections to Sparrow’s moral claims, but his descriptive claim remains unchallenged. In this chapter, we challenge it, arguing that Sparrow’s imagined technology could be performed in such a way that the children produced would have living genetic parents.



Book title

The Uehiro Foundation's 30th Anniversary Publication

Publication Date



Genetic Parenthood, Stem cell derived gametes, Embryonic Stem cells, Assisted Reproduction, Medical Ethics, Bioethics