Human Reproductive Technology

Genetic Engineering

Implications of Cloning 

(DF): What is the legal status of a child cloned from cells taken without permission? In particular, does such a child have a legal claim for support upon the involuntary cell donor? Anyone else?


(SR) If a mother refuses to abort a child who is diagnosed with a physically disabling disease, should the child be permitted to sue the parent for wrongful birth?

(AB) Should people be able to recover from the invitro clinic when it accidentally inseminates the mother's egg with the wrong sperm or vice versa?  What would the harm be in a tort analysis?  What about if, looking further down the line, the geneticist creates an embryo with genes that provide the child with brown hair, when the parents specifically asked for blonde hair? Would there be a cause of action of this kind of mistake?

(CO) Could you legally “hijack” someone’s genetic material? What if you wanted to prescreen a man’s sperm to determine if he carried the traits you were looking for to create your ideal child? Is that an invasion of his privacy? Did he truly abandon that material or are you committing conversion by having it tested?

(DF) Having identified the man who could father your ideal child, you deliberately become pregnant by him while allowing him to assume that you are using contraception. You don't want support—merely genes. Does he have a legal case against you for fraudulently induced paternity?


(CO) Why don’t we “breed out” diseases like we do with dogs? What if you taxed people who carried those traits in the event that they did reproduce (arguably that tax would go to caring for their offspring who could arguably require greater medical care)

(CO) Taken one step further, what if we became more accurate about genetic predictability and knew if a fetus would be a 1) psychopath, 2) terminally ill

(SR) If two parents carry the gene for an incurable disease such as Tay-Sachs, creating a high possibility that their child will have the disease...should they be forced to conceive using IVF and PGS (say as part of their insurance coverage)?

(SR) To what extent should parents be permitted to use preimplantation genetic screening for purposes of 1) medical selection (screening for diseases) 2) trait selection and 3) sex selection?


(AB) The question of what to do with extra embryos that were not chosen for IVF has become politicized in light of the debate about abortion and the status life after conception.  However, the debate concerning abortion is much more central than the disposition of extra embryos in storage.  Why have these issue been treated differently?  Would it be unconstitutional to put undue burdens on a woman's choice of what to do with her frozen embryos, as it is to put an undue burden on a woman's choice to have an abortion?

Should parents be permitted to make savior siblings give a) tissue donations and/or b) organ donations to their dying child without the savior sibling's consent? If consent is required, at what age does the savior sibling have "capacity" to either give or deny consent?

In 2007 members of Congress introduced the "Cloned Food Labeling Act" but it did not pass. Should the FDA mandate labeling of cloned food?

AB: Ashley Brown
CO: Crystal Ong
DF: David Friedman
Susannah Ragab

Legal Research on reproductive technology by Susannah Ragab

Legal Research on reproductive technology by Ashley Brown

Legal Research from a previous year on
Stem Cells and Cloning.

Legal research from previous years

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