Is Having Children Or Not Having Children Selfish?

cwt edt


You must have seen the online arguments amongst the ‘breeders’ versus the non breeders.

Always somewhere in the debate a ‘breeder’ – let’s use ‘parent’ – will pipe up with ‘how selfish not to have children. You people just think of yourselves and no one else!’

Fair enough. But is there meant to be something wrong with that? If you know yourself to be committed to other things Рeven if that IS your own ego, why give birth to a child that is not wanted? Surely…surely THAT would be selfish? Or am I missing the point?

I think it’s part of that dubious argument about humans dying out if everyone chooses to be ‘selfish’ and not to have children, even though humans are clearly not all choosing to be child free suddenly and simultaneously.

Then we have a planet teeming with abused and unwanted children – (a winning argument for non parents surely?) One could argue that adding yet more children to the world is egotistical rather than shepherding one of those lost lambs into your loving home instead. If we are thinking about the world and the planet and the suffering of millions of innocent children in need of care, could adding (lots) more be described as the more insular and selfish act?

Perhaps indeed no one is selfish and the variety of choice is all a beautiful thing, but that word SELFISH comes up EVERY time in these debates and I’ve always wanted to understand why it’s the go-to word predominantly used by those with children.



I’m an idiot.

Is having children or choosing not to have children the more selfish act?