Standard Article

Interests of the Future Child

  1. Sheila AM McLean

Published Online: 15 SEP 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005220.pub2



How to Cite

McLean, S. A. 2009. Interests of the Future Child. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2009


Modern technology makes it possible for intending parents to make certain choices about the characteristics of their future children, when they seek to establish a pregnancy using in vitro fertilization (IVF) combined with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Moreover, choices about whether or not to continue with a pregnancy are also available in those countries where prenatal screening and pregnancy termination are available. Although by and large these decisions are seen as reflecting the rights of people to make free, uncoerced choices (the concept of reproductive liberty) others condemn them either as eugenic or as amounting to killing children. However, increasing emphasis on the commitment to future generations may increasingly impact on the reproductive decisions made by prospective parents. Arguably, the concept of reproductive liberty may be modified by the notion of intergenerational justice.

Key concepts

  • An understanding of the concept of reproductive liberty.

  • An understanding of the concept of intergenerational justice.

  • An understanding of the arguments for and against the use of Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis.


  • abortion;
  • prenatal screening;
  • pre-implantation genetic diagnosis;
  • reproductive liberty;
  • intergenerational justice