Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 13
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Ten Haaf, Lisette 2016. Future Persons and Legal Persons: The Problematic Representation of the Future Child in the Regulation of Reproduction. Laws, Vol. 5, Issue. 1, p. 10.

    de Lacey, S. L. Peterson, K. and McMillan, J. 2015. Child interests in assisted reproductive technology: how is the welfare principle applied in practice?. Human Reproduction, Vol. 30, Issue. 3, p. 616.

    Fabre, Cécile 2015. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.

    Anomaly, Jonathan 2014. Public goods and procreation. Monash Bioethics Review, Vol. 32, Issue. 3-4, p. 172.

    Marsh, Jason 2014. Quality of Life Assessments, Cognitive Reliability, and Procreative Responsibility. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 89, Issue. 2, p. 436.

    Bayne, Tim 2013. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.

    Bayne, Tim 2013. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.

    Fabre, Cécile 2013. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.

    Gibson, S. 2012. Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics.

    Hope, Tony and McMillan, John 2012. Physicians’ Duties and the Non-Identity Problem. The American Journal of Bioethics, Vol. 12, Issue. 8, p. 21.

    Wilkinson, Dominic James 2011. A Life Worth Giving? The Threshold for Permissible Withdrawal of Life Support From Disabled Newborn Infants. The American Journal of Bioethics, Vol. 11, Issue. 2, p. 20.

    Pearson, Yvette E. 2007. Storks, Cabbage Patches, and the Right to Procreate. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, Vol. 4, Issue. 2, p. 105.

    Reuter, Shelley Z. 2007. The politics of ‘wrongful life’ itself: discursive (mal)practices and Tay-Sachs disease. Economy and Society, Vol. 36, Issue. 2, p. 236.


Wrongful Life

  • David Archard (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 July 2004

I argue that it is wrong deliberately to bring into existence an individual whose life we can reasonably expect will be of very poor quality. The individual's life would on balance be worth living but would nevertheless fall below a certain threshold. Additionally the prospective parents are unable to have any other child who would enjoy a better existence. Against the claims of John Harris and John Robertson I argue that deliberately to conceive such a child would not be to exercise the right to procreate. For this right is internally constrained by the requirement that any resultant child has the reasonable prospect of a minimally decent life.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *