The ethics of Elderly Mums in the News

By David Hunter

Daniel Sokol has written this thoughtful piece about the yuck factor and Elderly Mums conceiving children late in life via IVF.

I generally agree with Daniel, it seems difficult to justify criticism of elderly mums on grounds other than potential harm to the child – and as Daniel notes these grounds are problematic due to the non-identity problem. (And well done to Daniel for managing to make Parfit understandable to the general public in his piece)

Daniel references other potential arguments and it is one of these I want to discuss – resource allocation. If (and it is a big if) the IVF was being provided via public funding then it might be considered more objectionable – since other things could be done with that money than give someone a baby, such as save lives and so on. However even this argument doesn’t clearly cut against Elderly Mothers, since arguably it would apply to all cases of publicly funded assisted reproduction rather than just those cases.

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