Much reflection on "reproductive ethics" is in fact about the prevention or nullification of reproduction (e.g., contraception and abortion) rather than the production of life. On the First Things home page, Ryan Anderson urges us to think harder about the production of life. He suggests that in vitro fertilization treats the new human being as a means rather than a person, and challenges us to develop this kind of an insight further. This is a tough challenge, but one that it is important to try to meet.
A radical way to meet the challenge, would be to claim that it is never permissible to deliberately produce a child, because when one deliberately produces a child, one is producing that child for some end. That end is not the good of the child, as that would arguably be justificationally circular, since the fact that the child will exist is presupposed in talking of what is good for the child. Hence, on Kantian grounds, one is not treating a person as an end in producing the person for some purpose. On this view, then, human life can only be licitly produced by a process that has independent value not merely instrumental to the production of human life, such as marital union, and the process must be engaged in for the sake of that independent value. (George and Bradley have an essay where they make the more moderate, but still strong, claim that marital activity engaged in solely for reproductive purposes is wrong.) If the thought of reproduction at all enters into a morally upright decision to engage in the act of marital union on this view, it is not as an end but as a defeater-defeater (e.g., the couple is not in the mood for marital union, and their not being in the mood is a defeater for the reasons that couples have for marital union; but the possibility of reproduction maybe defeats the mood consideration).
This radical move strikes me as deeply implausible. But there is something to the worry that many possible reasons for having a child do treat the child as a means... Is there a way of defending a more plausible position that will rule out in vitro fertilization on the grounds that it treats the child as a means?