Snowflake Adoptions and Orphan Embryos: The Legal Response to Embryo Transfer

Katheryn D. Katz

Albany Law School


Wisconsin Women's Law Journal, Vol. 18, p. 179, 2003
Albany Law School Research Paper

Micah Wheat was born on February 14, 2001 and the birth was historic. It was the first widely publicized birth which came as a result of embryo donation under the Snowflakes Program run by Nightlight Christian Adoptions. He was born six years after he was frozen as an embryo by his genetic parents. He would be thawed by his adoptive parents and implanted in his adoptive mother.

The story belies the existing legal void regarding the rights of individuals who are parties to embryo donation, a process which in the main has been treated as a medical matter rather than legal. However, the existence of the Snowflake program requires consideration of the existing law regarding embryo donation. It is also important to consider the legal relations between children born via embryo donation and the donors and donees.

This article focuses on issues raised by voluntary and involuntary embryo donations. The issues necessarily include those raised by abortion and stem cell research.

Furthermore, the article explores the consequences of equating embryo donation with adoption.

The article argues that there will challenges ahead for reproductive supporters in crafting laws that address the important issues but stays away from being equated with adoption.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 53

Keywords: Voluntary and Involuntary Embryo Donations

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Date posted: July 13, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Katz, Katheryn D., Snowflake Adoptions and Orphan Embryos: The Legal Response to Embryo Transfer (2003). Wisconsin Women's Law Journal, Vol. 18, p. 179, 2003; Albany Law School Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1639397

Contact Information

Katheryn D. Katz (Contact Author)
Albany Law School ( email )
80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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