Savulescu defines his PPB as:
Couples (or single reproducers) should select the child, of all possible children they could have, who is expected to have the best life, or at least as good a life as the others, based on the relevant and available information. (Savulescu 2001, 415)
It denotes a moral obligation for prospective parents to use genetic information, where genetic testing is available, to ensure they select the best embryo that it is possible for them to have. The genetic information required by PPB, however, is not limited to those genes pertaining only to disease. Savulescu instead demands that non-disease genes, those such as intelligence, height and memory, should also be utilized and treated with equal importance during our reproductive decision making; the impact of non-disease genes on an individual’s ability to lead the best life is as significant as the that of disease genes. It is important to note, however, that while PPB does advocate for selecting the best, which for the most part will mean selecting against embryos carrying disease genes, it does not stipulate that an individual with disease should never be selected. Moreover, while Savulescu holds PPB as a moral obligation, he insists his use of “should” is to be seen as representing justifiable persuasion, not coercion; the prospective parent should, he argues, have the freedom to make any reproductive choice they wish, even if it is deemed to be the wrong one.
Savulescu’s proposal that parents should have the best child that it is possible for them to have is problematic for a number of reasons. However, perhaps the most obvious of these is arguably the impact that a moral obligation of this nature has on various aspects of the reproductive autonomy afforded to prospective parents. Firstly, the only way prospective parents would be able to ensure they meet the moral obligation of PPB would require their utilisation of various expensive and dangerous ARTs, such as IVF and PGD (Melo Martin 2004, 73). There are, however, numerous convincing reasons as to why a prospective parent may not wish to,...