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Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 501–517 | Cite as

Solidarity as a Theoretical Framework for Posthumous Assisted Reproduction and the Case of Bereaved Parents

  • Efrat Ram-TiktinEmail author
  • Roy Gilbar
Article

Abstract

Bioethicists, medical professionals and lawyers who support Posthumous Assisted Reproduction (PAR) as an ethical procedure in the case of the deceased’s spouse often oppose it in the case of the deceased’s parents. In addition, supporters of PAR usually rely on an individualistic version of liberalism, thus focusing on a personal rather than relational approach to autonomy. This article proposes an alternative and comprehensive theoretical framework for the practice of PAR, based on the concepts of solidarity and relational autonomy. By analyzing empirical data on people’s attitudes towards PAR, we reveal an important distinction between the deceased’s wish and the deceased’s consent. In addition, we show that in the majority of cases individuals report that the well-being of their relatives is paramount once they are dead. This finding, as will be demonstrated in the article, is not fully in line with Tremellen and Savulescu’s position who allow PAR in the case of the deceased’s spouse but not in the case of his parents. We also suggest that a relational autonomy perspective can be used to evaluate the choices and actions of the deceased, and to justify the requests for PAR by his spouse or parents. Furthermore, the discussion leads us to analyze both Sandel’s account of solidarity and the more recent account of Prainsack and Buyx. We conclude that PAR can be considered as a solidarity-based practice, both at the familial and societal level, an aspect that should be given more emphasis in the discourse surrounding PAR.

Keywords

Posthumous assisted reproduction Solidarity Relational autonomy Bereavement Postmortem sperm retrieval Presumed consent 

Notes

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael
  2. 2.School of LawNetanya Academic CollegeNetanyaIsrael

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