We generally hold that people have the right to have children and that neither the state nor society can stop people from having children. We tend to believe this even in cases where people are obviously parasites on society and will be unable to take care of their children. e.g: Drug addicts, habitual criminals, repeatedly abusive/neglectful parents. Why is this?
Two theories? For most people reproductive rights are sared or close to it and cannot be infringed on or traded away. For me it’s just a useful social norm. Even if I would be fine with an isolated case of stopping a unsuitable person from having children, I worry about the erosion of "The government/majority isn’t allowed to dictate who can have children" norm.
To the extent we believe that reproductive autonomy is valuable, I think we should probably believe it’s also valuable as a positive right, not purely a negative one. I care a lot about people not being sterilized or forced to have abortions but I also car about people not being infertile due to other, non-human causes. If having children is very important to many people, then it’s bad when certain people are unable to do it.
Why can’t people have children? One reason is infertility. Another, far more common reason is not finding a partner. I think this reason is under-appreciated by society.
In an ideal society, everyone would be able to have children much the same way everyone can order a $5 jar of peanut butter from Amazon. How can I move society towards this?
Advocacy for research into exo-wombs etc… is one avenue but not one I think is tractable.
Another idea is to create a business offering children as a service. The firm would maintain
- a high genetic fitness sperm bank
- a high genetic fitness egg bank
- a bank of well-paid, healthy surrogates
Prospective parents with lots of money could essentially get a child as a service with no more effort than getting a house or car. They could either go with a fully outsourced package (sperm + egg + surrogate) or bring some parts in house as they wished, using their own sperm, egg or womb.
Key Value Proposition: Make getting a child as easy as buying a house
What about safeguards for the children? A few thoughts
- Non identity arguments apple. Any existence is better than no existence.
- If we’re overwhelmed by demand, we should priorities the best parents.
- If we have more supply, we should offer our service to every parent who will create a net positive life for the child.
- There are also positive externalities from this project, both in terms of eugenic effects and in terms of creating likely highly successful members of society