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Our panel of 82 professional philosophers has responded to

Question of the day

Is the choice to have children an immoral one? I'm at the age where if I don't have a child soon, then, adoption aside, I'll have missed the opportunity. And I do want a child. A child would make me happy, I'll have someone to take care of me when I'm older, it would give more direction to my life, and so forth. But I have at least three worries. The first worry is that I'm not a happy person, and most people around me aren't happy. I think life's hard for everyone! Is it immoral to bring a child into an imperfect, unhappy world? The second worry is about overpopulation and poverty. If there are already many children in the world dying of hunger and disease, surely the more moral choice, if you want a child, is to adopt rather than to have your own? The third worry is that my reasons for wanting a child are, I believe, essentially selfish. They're about what would make me happy, and therefore would involve using a person. The problem is that I have a strong conviction that, as much as possible, you should not use people but should give them a say. Of course, it doesn't even make sense to give a say to an unborn child, but that doesn't make me feel I've got clean hands. I also find it difficult to wrap my mind around the idea that you're having the child for the child's own sake. Seeing that the child doesn't exist yet, how can it make sense that you're bringing the child into existence for the sake of the child? I apologise if these are pretty silly questions. I feel silly when everyone doesn't think twice about these sorts of issues. Are my concerns baseless?