A Lesbian Centered Critique of Genetic Parenthood

22 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2007

See all articles by Julie Shapiro

Julie Shapiro

Seattle University School of Law


Recent years have seen a proliferation of alternative reproductive technologies and the ready availability of reliable DNA testing. These developments have lead to enormous uncertainty concerning the meaning of a genetic tie between adult and child. On the one hand, reproductive technology has lead to a robust market where genetic material is readily bought and sold. This suggests it is not the root of parental status. On the other hand, DNA testing has allowed men to contest paternity of children, asserting that they are not genetically related to them. And their challenges have often been successful. Genetic linkage is particularly problematic for lesbians and gay men forming families. Their children are necessarily not related to one of the parents. At the same time genetic relationship has formed a strong basis on which lesbians in particular have asserted their maternity. This article calls for sustained critical analysis of the meaning of the genetic bond, particularly in lesbian families.

Keywords: Lesbian legal theory, lesbian and gay families, paternity, maternity, family law, parent and child, assisted resproductive technology, DNA testing

JEL Classification: K10, K19

Suggested Citation

Shapiro, Julie, A Lesbian Centered Critique of Genetic Parenthood. Journal of Gender, Race and Justice, Vol. 9, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1029759

Julie Shapiro (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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