Embryo Fundamentalism

42 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2010

See all articles by June Carbone

June Carbone

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law

Naomi Cahn

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: forthcoming 2010


The battle for the future of assisted reproduction technologies (ART) has been joined. The tacit compromise underlying assisted reproduction - no laws are passed that even tangentially sanction embryo destruction and no laws are passed that intrude on the profitability of fertility treatments - may be coming to an end. As use of ART has increased, so have calls for supervision and oversight. In the wake of "Octomom" Nadya Suleman's use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to give birth to octuplets, the calls to regulate assisted reproduction have become even more pressing. At the same time, religious communities ambivalent about ART have increased the calls to reform ART practices to bring them more in line with religious teachings and spiritually informed notions of human dignity. In this paper, we focus on what may become a new flash point in the effort to craft normative understandings about assisted reproduction. That flash point is the treatment of the hundreds of thousands of extra embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the efforts to pass legislation that will recognize these embryos as human beings and facilitate their adoption. We examine the implications of these efforts for the future of assisted reproduction.

Keywords: family law, assisted reproduction, embryos, embryo adoption, embryo donation, embryo transfer, adoption, parental rights,constitutional law, reproductive liberty, juridical persons, abortion

Suggested Citation

Carbone, June and Cahn, Naomi R., Embryo Fundamentalism (forthcoming 2010). William & Mary Bill of Rights, Forthcoming, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 503, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 503, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1585988

June Carbone (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law ( email )

229-19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Naomi R. Cahn

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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