Accidental Incest: Drawing the Line - Or the Curtain? - For Reproductive Technology

36 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2008

See all articles by Naomi Cahn

Naomi Cahn

University of Virginia School of Law


This article calls for setting limits on the number of offspring born from any one individual's gametes, and for continuing to sanction incest, even when it comes to adult, inter-sibling consensual behaviour. The article examines the issues of inadvertent consanguinity raised by third-party gamete use through a feminist lens on both incest and reproductive technology. The central questions concern regulation of reproductive technology, such as whether legal restrictions on the fertility market might diminish the possibilities of accidental incest, as well as whether criminal and civil sanctions of intrafamilial sexual behavior should apply to relationships created through reproductive technology; these, in turn, require examinations of the fertility business itself as well as broader justifications for incest prohibitions.

Keywords: family law, gametes, incest, reproductive technology, intrafamilial sexual behavior

JEL Classification: I18, J13, K10, O33

Suggested Citation

Cahn, Naomi R., Accidental Incest: Drawing the Line - Or the Curtain? - For Reproductive Technology. Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, 2009, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 437, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 437, Available at SSRN:

Naomi R. Cahn (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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