Free Market Reproduction Learning Scenario and Reflection


In the scenario assignments, you are asked to reflect on responses to the presented scenario. This should not just be writing down your first reaction or what you already know. Reflection involves critical thinking, which means rethinking your existing knowledge and previously held opinions in light of what we have learned about theories of ethics, logic, and reasoning. You will need to question your existing knowledge and beliefs.

To complete each scenario assignment:

  • Complete the entire scenario.
  • Compose your reflection in a Word document and be sure to address, at a minimum, the following questions:
    • Why do you feel the way you do about the issue presented?
    • Of the four responses offered in the scenario, which do you feel is the most ethical and why?
  • Support your conclusions with evidence and specific examples from the textbook, as well as other sources as needed.
  • Your reflection must be 1-2 pages in length and follow APA formatting and citation guidelines as appropriate.

-Hello everyone, thank you for coming to our session. A free market brings buyers and sellers together based on supply and demand for various products. It is an economic mechanism, and a neutral one. However, the results of marketplace consumerism are not always neutral. The societal impacts of a free market depend upon the ethics that allow or prohibit buying and selling various commodities. Take the sale of ivory, for example, if ivory is bought and sold freely, the demand for ivory will result in the slaughter of thousands of elephants for their tusks. If we find that practice unethical, we can prohibit ivory sales, which will make it more difficult to buy and sell ivory and send a clear message about the ethics of ivory sales. The same is true of marketable items in any field. If we condone the presence of reproductive commodities on the market, the market will respond and provide buyers with options. If we prohibit sales, that also sends a message about the ethics.

Dr Whin

-the free market is not an appropriate tool for advancing an agenda, and it will not work as one. It is neutral with regard to reproductive rights. Should we meddle with one system in order to address ethics issues in a separate, unrelated system? The market will behave as it behaves, for better or worse.

Dr. Ronald

-you speak as though the market is entirely beyond control, but that is not the case. We can prohibit or restrict the sale of reproductive commodities such as sperm and eggs. And though the market itself is neutral, it can be both harmful and beneficial to society. If cedar wood becomes trendy in-home design and decorating, cedar treed may be cut down too quickly to allow areas to recover and regrow. The demand for cedar wood would be directly to blame for the destruction of cedar trees, even if the market itself merely facilitates buying and selling the commodity.


-can you give us example of a technology that utilizes the commodities we’re talking about?

Dr Whin

-Most of these technologies address infertility. The most common is in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which was first offered in the United States in 1981. It resulted in the birth of more than 500,000 children between the years of 1985 and 2006. A woman takes fertility drugs to increase her production of eggs, and then a physician retrieves those eggs. Then sperm is mixed with the eggs and fertilization may take place.

-Where does the problem arise with the commodities we’re talking about?

DR. Ronald

-Assisted reproduction sometimes requires the use of sperm, eggs or wombs from third parties who are not expected to play role in raising the resulting children. When third parties become involved and are paid their time and resources, ethical issues may arise. Also, the costs of these technologies are often prohibitive. Poorer couples dealing with infertility do not have the same options as well-to-do couples.

Dr. whin

-so do you propose that we use the free market as an arbiter for ethics based solely on prohibition and stamps of approval? The market as an economic mechanism was not designed for such arbitrations. It will not serve well in that capacity. We risk losing a human element when we depend on an impartial process to further an ethical goal.

Dr. Ronald

-the impartiality can work to our advantage. Human beings are still the arbiters; we are simply utilizing an established means to facilitate commerce. For example, we may want to prohibit human cloning, but to encourage in vitro fertilization. We can accomplish both through market regulation. We state cloning dangers by prohibition, whereas subsidies are given to in vitro fertilization, which would amount to that stamp of approval you mention. Both send strong signals, and the market stays the same, already in place, offering choices or blocking access.


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