Oral Presentation Australasian Association of Bioethics & Health Law and New Zealand Bioethics Conference

What is the ethical value of genetic kinship? A critical interpretive review. (1008)

Ainsley Newson 1 , Jane Williams 1 , Rosalind McDougall 2
  1. Sydney Health Ethics, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  2. Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) can allow people to have children who are genetically related to one or both intending social parents. Debate is ongoing on whether emerging ARTs such as mitochondrial donation should be used. One reason such ARTs are sought, over other potentially less risky options, is that they enable genetic kinship.

While the ethical value or disvalue of having genetic kinship between parents and children influences much scholarship in bioethics, there has been surprisingly little critical engagement with relevant ethical arguments. We contend that with regards to ARTs in particular, the ethical value of genetic kinship is often asserted or implied, but less frequently defended.

We undertook a critical interpretive review of bioethics and related literatures to identify and assess arguments about the ethical value of genetic kinship. Unlike systematic reviews, critical interpretive reviews aim for critical engagement with key ideas expressed in the literature, rather than to identify and analyse all relevant literature on the topic. One advantage of this approach is that it can assist in the development of theory as well as presenting existing scholarship.

This presentation will have four parts. First, we will describe the methods and processes used in our review. Second, we will describe the normative arguments we identified in the literature and the shape of the literature as a whole. Third, we will discuss our critical interpretation of these arguments. Finally, we will comment on how debates over the ethical value of genetic kinship might usefully progress in the future.