It is probably natural to want a child of one's own. Is it also good? Perhaps if it is truly natural, in accord with our created nature, it must also be good. But the seemingly innocent desire to have "a child of one's own," combined with the high-tech possibilities of modern medicine and the ever-present pursuit of commercial gain, has fashioned a world in which we regularly create moral conundrums that are beyond our ability not only to solve but even to name. The things we are willing to do tell a story—a story about the point of having children.Gilbert Meilaender

Consider the following cases, all roughly adapted from "real life," chosen almost at random:

1. A woman unable to have a child "of her own" had her ovum fertilized with her husband's sperm in the laboratory. The resulting embryo was then implanted in the womb of the woman's mother, who, having carried the pregnancy to term, gave birth to her own "grandchild."

2. A husband and wife who thought they wanted a child "of their own" contracted for the conception of a child who would be conceived from sperm and ovum that came from anonymous donors and who would then be gestated in the womb of a hired surrogate. Shortly before the child was born, the husband and wife who had wanted this child divorced. A judge felt compelled to rule that the baby girl actually had no legal parents at all.

3. A woman undergoing infertility treatment in order to have a child "of her own" conceived triplets. For medical reasons she was advised that it would be safest if she were to undergo "fetal reduction"—that is, reduce by abortion the number of fetuses she was carrying to one. She did, but weeks later, having undergone amniocentesis, she learned that the one remaining fetus ...

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