Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Establishing the nature of genetic parenthood is an important task. This is, firstly, because many people desire that relationship and it is in their interest to know what that is, and secondly, because there is a view that it may incur certain moral obligations between the genetic parent and their child. Many theorists have made attempts to define exactly what genetic parenthood is. I show that these definitions are deficient if they wish to fully capture all reproductive scenarios in ways that are intuitive and/or meaningful. Through a series of cases involving technologies such as cloning and genome editing, we see that in lieu of the traditional two parents, there are possible beings who have no genetic parents, one genetic parent, or many genetic parents. Establishing these cases complicates our understanding of genetic parenthood. From this, we must reconsider current definitions, as well as the usefulness of defining genetic parenthood in these complex cases. Here I do not aim to establish a new definition, but rather to suggest that this complexity makes it necessary to re-assess the importance of the connection between genetic parenthood and parental obligations and authorities.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





23 - 30


assisted reproduction, cloning, genetic parenthood, genome editing, reproduction, Child, Child, Orphaned, Humans, Moral Obligations, Parent-Child Relations, Parents, Reproductive Techniques, Assisted