Just Because You Don’t Want Kids Doesn’t Mean I Can’t Have Them: How Clarifying Definitions of Parent and Procreate Can Prevent the Indefinite Storage of Cryopreserved Embryos

28 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2009 Last revised: 23 Jun 2010

Linda S. Anderson

Stetson University College of Law

Date Written: Winter , 2011

Abstract

Since 1978, when the first “test-tube baby” was born in England, the use of technology to assist with the process of conception has evolved quickly. Today, advances in technology allow the various steps in the process of conception and gestation to be carried out in multiple locations, with multiple contributors to the process, and over an extended period of time. These technological advances call into question many of the assumptions about parenthood and procreation that were indisputable prior to the use of assisted reproductive technology. Courts have attempted to apply the old meanings to questions about the use of new technology, especially with regard to cryopreserved embryos, but admit that they are venturing into uncharted territory. When doing so, they often fall back on language that is familiar, but too imprecise to be helpful. Words like “parent” and “procreate” imply important rights and responsibilities, yet these words never needed defining in the past. Today they do, so this article attempts to re-define these terms by looking at their historical use, new legislation and cases that have tried to clarify them, and the policies behind their regularly-accepted meanings.

Keywords: ART, assisted reproduction, parentage, parent child, IVF, in vitro fertilization, alternative families, genetic parent, legal embryo custodian, intended parent, cryopreserved embryo, frozen embryo

JEL Classification: J12, J13, J18, K39

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Linda S., Just Because You Don’t Want Kids Doesn’t Mean I Can’t Have Them: How Clarifying Definitions of Parent and Procreate Can Prevent the Indefinite Storage of Cryopreserved Embryos (Winter , 2011). Stetson University College of Law Research Paper No. 2009-29; University of Louisville Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 2, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1487593 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1487593

Linda S. Anderson (Contact Author)

Stetson University College of Law ( email )

1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
United States

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