SAP sponsored event: Workshop: Distributive Justice and Procreative Technologies

  • Start Date: Jul 3, 2018
  • End Date: Jul 4, 2018
  • Location: University of Manchester
  • Contact Email:
thumbnail image: SAP sponsored event: Workshop: Distributive Justice and Procreative Technologies

Workshop: Distributive Justice and Procreative Technologies

3rd-4th July 2018, University of Manchester. Funded by the Society for Applied Philosophy, organised with Liam Shields.

Places are free but limited. To register to attend, please email ‘’. Do let us know any dietary or access requirements.

Judith Bell (Public Health England)
Rebecca Brown (University of Oxford)
Daniella Cutas (Umeå University)
Tim Fowler (University of Bristol)
Anca Gheaus (Pompeu Fabra University)
Liam Shields (University of Manchester) & Emily McTernan (UCL)
Adam Swift (University of Warwick)

Workshop description:

According to the Fertility Network UK, to save money, thirteen areas of England have restricted or completely halted IVF treatment since the start of the year for women struggling to conceive, with a further eight consulting on taking similar steps. Yet whether and why fertility treatment should be state funded has received relatively limited philosophical attention. Discussion of provision of IVF has largely focused on the details, such as whether age or existing children ought to affect eligibility for treatment. Further, where the justification of state funding of IVF is discussed, that has largely been on the grounds that it meets a medical need.

This workshop seeks alternative approaches to addressing whether state funding of fertility treatment can be justified, outside of the framework of healthcare provision. Procreative technologies like IVF can improve opportunities to pursue an important life project, of raising a child, and help to address natural and social inequalities in opportunities to parent. Thus, we seek to connect the discussion of state funding for fertility treatment with ideas about distributive justice. State funding of fertility treatment affects the distribution of benefits and burdens in a society and our opportunities to parent are tightly connected to our opportunities to procreate which vary across persons and throughout their life span. For these reasons, we believe that a focus on distributive justice will prove fruitful for addressing normative issues around the application of procreative technology and public policy.

Bringing together speakers and participants from political philosophy and bioethics, the guiding questions of the workshop are first, what role, if any, can fertility treatment, such as IVF, play in ensuring a fair distribution of the opportunity to parent? Second, is talk of distribution of the opportunity to parent a promising route by which to justify provision of fertility treatment, or are justifications based on health needs or appeals to what makes for a flourishing or good life to be preferred?

The workshop will run from midday on the 3rd July, until 5pm on the 4th July. Details on location, dinner, and other arrangements will be circulated to those who register to attend.


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