This book offers a comprehensive roadmap for determining when and how to regulate risky reproductive technologies on behalf of future children. First, it provides three benchmarks for determining whether a reproductive practice is harmful to the children it produces. This framework synthesizes and extends past efforts to make sense of our intuitive, but paradoxical, belief that reproductive choices can be both life-giving and harmful. Next, it recommends a process for reconciling the interests of future children with the reproductive liberty of prospective parents. The author rejects a blanket preference for either parental autonomy or child welfare and proposes instead a case-by-case inquiry that takes into account the nature and magnitude of the proposed restrictions on procreative liberty, the risk of harm to future children, and the context in which the issue arises. Finally, he applies this framework to four past and future medical treatments with above average risk, including cloning and genetic engineering.
Drawing lessons from these case studies, Peters criticizes the current lack of regulatory oversight and recommends both more extensive pre-market testing and closer post-market monitoring of new reproductive technologies. His moderate pragmatic approach will be widely appreciated.