The Moral Reasons to Have Children

Ever since my grandma started to live in a nursing home, my family has been visiting her on a daily basis. My dad visits in the mornings, I visit in the afternoons and my mom visits her after she gets off of work. My two sisters do not visit so often since they live farther away, but they do try to come at least a couple of times a week.

It has never really occurred to me (until now) how lucky my grandma is to have a family that visits her regularly; I can only imagine that many other people living in the nursing home are not in such a fortunate position. My experience spending two weeks in the hospital tells me that it really does improve the quality of one's life when loved ones come and visit. Following from this, it seems that my intention to not have any children in the future would put me in a very vulnerable and lonely situation. Who would take care of me when I grow old and weak? Do I really want to live in a senior citizen home and have no one visit me? On the one hand, I would say “of course not.” It's quite obvious that I would rather live at home and have family take care of me or have them come visit me frequently at the nursing home. But on the other hand, is that the right reason to have children? It would seem that I'd be treating them only as a means and philosophy tells me that's immoral.

To clarify, I can't really explain why I don't want any children in the future; all I know is that one should at least have a moral reason for having them. And, as stated above, I don't think wanting children so that they can take care of me in the future is a moral one. Others who I have asked have said that they want children because it would give them more to love. But again, this does not seem to be a moral reason since one is treating children only as a means.

So what are the moral reasons to have children then? I'm not really sure what the right answer to this question is, but it would have to entail treating them as an end.