That’s a great article, by the way. You should read it for a sense of why professional ethicists are both extremely powerful and problematic in these discussions.
From the article:
the transformation of procreation into a manufacturing process, subject to strict quality control, might undermine the unconditional love we expect and value between parents and their children.
This is seen directly in the combined use of IVF and the human trafficking also known as surrogacy. What is a mother? After feminism’s insistence that a father is simply a donor of genetic material, and its further insistence that a woman is no different than a man, is it any wonder that the woman who gives up her body to protect, nurture, grow, and ultimately be split open in childbirth is cast away and the female donor of genetic material hailed as the “mother”?
But as the author points out later in the article, the biological connection is obviously not meaningless, either:
To imagine such a culture — where parenthood is held as such a cheap bond that making someone a genetic parent without consent is considered acceptable — is to be horrified.
Yet this is already happening and being fought out in courts in Israel where parents of adult children that die are requesting that their eggs/sperm be harvested immediately so that they can use IVF (and a surrogate) to create another child that is biologically related to them.
Here’s another quote:
Making cloning or CRISPR experiments on human embryos easier to conduct will in turn make it easier for scientists to push these techniques toward use in assisted-reproduction clinics.
So the 50/50 rate will improve, and then will @Nathan_Smith’s concerns about unintentional destruction be moot? Not at all…
If stem cell–derived gametes (the general term for egg and sperm cells) do come to be used for human reproduction, many of the already troubling aspects of in vitro fertilization (IVF) will likewise be made more extreme. Reproduction will become even more like a manufacturing process, with doctors producing greater numbers of embryos and subjecting them to more rigorous “quality control” and selection — discarding ever more embryos considered to be defective or simply to have undesirable traits.
The basic argument is that we’re moving toward eugenics:
iterated embryo selection is more about its vastly greater efficiency, making it “possible to accomplish ten or more generations of selection in just a few years.”… [M]ass farming of human embryos to create genetically enhanced children who would be dozens of generations removed from any living human ancestors certainly introduces new ethical problems even as it avoids the moral problems of mass sterilization that characterized earlier eugenic efforts.
While Bostrom the transhumanist clearly wants to defend the old eugenic dream of putting the unguided process of human evolution under rational control, Greely the respectable, serious-minded law professor updates the eugenics project in a more insidious way. In his vision of the future, eugenic control is exercised by parents, but under the gently paternalistic nudging of governments or health insurance bureaucracies.
I suspect the latter will do a much better job making it socially acceptable the way IVF has become today.
But the people who are setting the ethical standards for these scientists are already casting about to find the most repellent applications of this technology in order to justify them. And for what? Is “multiplex parenting” so urgently in need of moral defense? Do we really need to conduct a decades-long sociological research program to find out whether outcomes for children created in the lab by a polycule — a network of polyamorous relationships — are as good as for children raised in a two-parent household?.. There has been too little political will to seriously regulate and restrict the development of reproductive technologies. For too long the moral problems raised by them have been left to professionals with warped priorities.