Regarding the "child" (and its relationship to the "parent"). I have not so far examined the child itself as a person involved in these issues, but what happens if we do so? There have been discussions of the problem of children's (sense of) belonging (to their parents), involving among other issues the suggestion that children whose (birth) parents are not clearly established or who are raised by people other than their birth parents may suffer as a result. Let us assume that this sense does in fact exist in this society, that is, that "blood descent" does in fact possess great importance. If this is the case, however, where does this sense of its importance come from? Can we really say it is simply a strong feeling of affection or preference for one's own bloodline or family?
A child does not itself influence the fact of its own birth. This is a decision made by the parents. The child in question does not exercise self-determination in regard to who their own parents are or in regard to their own attributes themselves. They may not care about their origins, or they might want to pursue them. But is not this pursuit of origins also, when the self is only the self, an attempt to search for something that is not the self as it has come to exist? In this sense, if the self is defined in terms of what belongs to the individual at present, the child undertaking this kind of inquiry into their origins is not in fact searching for their "self."
This child is looking for a "place." And can we not say that this is the kind of place where the "I" does not operate? The "I" here is not only the "I" of the child in question. Is this place not in fact a place without a "person"?
Those who affirm technology in this context may say it is preferable to create more advanced artificial tools and techniques (for the sake of the person in question) than to leave things up to "chance." This decision may furthermore not be "detrimental" to the interests of the child. From this point of view it becomes possible to accept these actions decided upon by parents (or those who become parties to a contract in order to become parents). However, when actions are taken in regard to the child, even if they are assumed to be "for their sake," the child itself does not yet exist when the decision is made, and even if the benefits the parents expect the child to receive are different from the benefits they expect to receive for themselves, and even if we do not doubt their "good intentions," the benefits presumed to accrue to the child are still benefits that are imagined and expected by the parents. The "other" (the child) exists as an extension of the "self" (the parents). The child finds this uncomfortable or unpleasant. This is the discomfort of being under the cause and effect of the person in question, of being under human cause and effect.
I return to this later in discussing "active eugenics" (see Chapter 9 Section 6), and here I discuss it as it relates to surrogate motherhood. I do not think the differences between an individual's birth parents and the parents that raise them are themselves what are able of giving rise to this discomfort. In the case of adoption, as well as divorce and remarriage, there are two parents. Adopted children are given up because of unavoidable circumstances. In other cases both of their parents may have died. In the case of divorce and remarriage a child gains a second mother or father. Being raised by a parent or parents other than your birth parents may indeed cause confusion and suffering in a variety of different ways, but in practice it occurs so often that these are problems we have no choice but to deal with as best we can. In the case of surrogate motherhood contracts, however, the transfer of the child is intended and planned in advance. I suspect that not all cases of someone giving birth for someone else pose a problem. What I am asserting is that when, as discussed earlier, one party endures physical suffering and the other gives up the pleasure of having a child, and the transaction is carried out by both parties to get something that they want, being born in the midst of this kind of artificial situation may be distressing for the child in question. It is not as though this sort of situation will necessarily arise in all cases of compensated surrogate motherhood. But it may sometimes occur, and if so provides one reason to restrict this practice.
Should we not simply assert, in the manner of the laws of Germany and France, the "inviolability of life" and the "inviolability of the body" (see Chapter 3 Notes 5-7)? Is there anyone who thinks this? I myself have no strong objections to the current regulations in place in several countries. I did not set out to justify a different set of choices to begin with, but rather have attempted to consider the nature of what is being regulated. These assertions can be seen as being easily understood on account of their being so concise. But there are some things which, for me at least, are not explained by these words alone, and I wanted to clarify these things I did not understand. I did not want to simply accept some of the terms and arguments used here without examination. There are senses in which we do not accept the "inviolability of the body," nor indeed should we. To begin with, the inviolability of the body is sometimes brandished as a tool used to justify private ownership, and if we do not accept private ownership on its face this tool will not of course be applied in exactly the same way. On the other hand, there is another approach that gives priority not to the "body" but rather the "mind" that controls it. In this case both life and the body lose their special status. What are we to make of this? I wanted to state these sorts of ideas more precisely and accurately. Special proprietary rights have also been assigned in relation to "genes" and "genetic information." But I felt that what must be said here is something different; what must be pursued is the prevention of interference, and these two things are not the same.