[Skip to Navigation]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
March 1985

Artificial Insemination in Lesbians: Ethical Considerations

Author Affiliations

Assistant for Bioethics Office of the Director Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center Bldg 10, Room 1C-150 National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20205

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(3):419-420. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360030051008

Perkoff's1 absorbing report on an instance of artificial insemination by donor (AID) raises at least three ethical questions. Parenthetically, the case shows that so-called "private" moral choices also have public consequences. We are fond of arguing that sexuality and reproduction are in the "private" sphere. Is it not clearer to say that we reject attempts by governments or organized third parties to coerce or unduly influence choices of mates or to have children? We should not indulge the illusion that choices about whom we love or have children with are "private," as if untouched by ordinary moral rules that most rational persons respect. We cannot sidestep the consequences of choice. Moreover, we are indissolubly social creatures whose choices about sex and parenthood affect the welfare of many others and future generations.

First, was the physician who performed AID in a lesbian morally wronged when a chairman in a Catholic medical