Defending the Genetic Supermarket: The Law and Ethics of Selecting the Next Generation, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Defending the Genetic Supermarket

The Law and Ethics of Selecting the Next Generation, 1st Edition

By Colin Gavaghan


248 pages

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The controversial topic of the technology of Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis, and the muddled approach to this subject adopted by the UK Parliament, is explored in detail in this volume. The author takes the viewpoint that the HFEA has taken insufficient notice to date of certain core ethical principles and makes the case for a much more ethically consistent and humane system than has been managed so far.

Arguing that many of the fears and objections levied against Robert Nozick’s notion of the ‘Genetic Supermarket’ by disability activists, christian bioethicists and radical feminists, amongst others, are internally inconsistent, philosophically unsound or merely highly improbable, the author considers a number of individual policy decisions of the HFEA and addresses such questions as:

  • Can a case be made out for state involvement in such decisions?
  • Who stands to be harmed by a supermarket model?
  • Are any ethical principles or societal interests threatened by it?

This book is an essential resource for law students of all levels and professionals working within or interested in medical and healthcare law and medical genetics.


'…the book provides a clear argument in defense of the Genetic Supermarket and the reproductive liberty of its customers. It is an informative and thoughtful approach to the question of legislation surrounding reproductive choices.' - Rachael Dobson,, July 2008

'The wide range of issues and arguments considered, clarity of discussion, and sharp analysis makes Defending the Genetic Supermarket an excellent introduction to the issues, with plenty of references for further reading. It is a brilliant contribution to the debates about ethical and policy issues in PGD, tissue typing and embryo selection. It should be required reading for anyone concerned with ethical and policy issues in PGD.' - Gardar Arnason, Medical Law Review, vol. 16 no. 1 (Spring 2008)

'… a compelling case for a choice approach towards PGD as a justifiable regulatory framework from the perspective of human rights… [a] valuable addition to the current literature' - Eva Asscher, SCRIPTed, vol. 5 no. 2 (Spring 2008)

Table of Contents

The Attack on the Genetic Supermarket. Autonomy and Germinal Choice. Children of the Genetic Supermarket. Impossible Alternatives: Derek Parfit and the Non-identity Principle. Disability, Gender and the Threat to the Already Disadvantaged. Saviour Siblings and the 'Means-Ends' Imperative. Justice and the Genetic Supermarket. Defending the Genetic Supermarket

About the Author

Colin Gavaghan is at the School of Law in the University of Glasgow.

About the Series

Biomedical Law and Ethics Library

Scientific and clinical advances, social and political developments and the impact of healthcare on our lives raise profound ethical and legal questions. Medical law and ethics have become central to our understanding of these problems, and are important tools for the analysis and resolution of problems – real or imagined.

In this series, scholars at the forefront of biomedical law and ethics will contribute to the debates in this area, with accessible, thought-provoking, and sometimes controversial ideas. Each book in the series will develop an independent hypothesis and argue cogently for a particular position. One of the major contributions of this series is the extent to which both law and ethics are utilised in the content of the books, and the shape of the series itself.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Health
LAW / Medical Law & Legislation