I argue that the value of love in friendship illuminates issues about parental love and examine whether allowing same-sex couples access to adoption has any bearing on the moral status of prohibitions on same-sex couples using assisted reproduction.
An emotional liberty rationale for broad access to IVF and other forms of assisted reproduction focuses on how narrow restrictions on such access prevent prospective parents from developing forms of parental love which are distinctively valuable (apart from prospective parents’ motives for reproducing). This rationale supports a general principle that it is pro tanto wrong to deliberately place obstacles in the way of opportunities to develop such forms of parental love – as when states prohibit same-sex couples from accessing IVF (or, for that matter, from accessing adoption). These normative claims do not require that such forms of parental love are very common in parent-child relationships. But how broadly are such distinctively valuable forms of parental love plausibly thought to extend, such that it is clear what would count as an obstacle to the development of this love? Answering this question is also important for addressing issues about whether the value of one sort of parental love can plausibly be substituted for another, as some have suggested in debates about IVF access.