I sorry to say I am caving to an irresistible impulse I probably really ought to resist. But at least I can keep this short.
I’ve written in the past about the case for regulating ART. It’s often raised when some startling story hits the news–Nadya Suleman (aka Octomom) or a man with hundreds of offspring. It’s not that these cases are typical ones. Quite the contrary–they are unusual and eye-catching. But they become the jumping off point for the regulatory discussion.
So it seems only fair to flag this story and consider (analogously) the case for regulating non-ART conception. Desmond Hatchett has 30 children born to 11 different women. Nine of the children are under three. He earns minimum wage (which in Tennessee cannot be that much) and so (no surprise) is unable to support his children. Should this spur us to consider regulation of non-ART conception?
To be clear, we don’t regulate this area and people will be quick to say that we cannot–both from a practical point of view and from a rights-oriented one. Each of these merits a little thought, though.
Practically, can we regulate this type of procreation? (Even if the answer today is “no” it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the answer changes to “yes” within a few years.)
And from a rights viewpoint–what exactly is the right? If it is to continue one’s genetic line then it ought to apply ART or no ART. If it is to engage in intercourse, then if you solve the practical problem above that right can be preserved without producing all these kids.
Which leads me to this–if we could (practically speaking) regulate non-ART conception, is there any reason why we should not do so? Food for thought.