The Challenge of the New Reproductive Technologies to Family Law
Osgoode Hall Law School
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Legal and Ethical Issues in NRTs, Vol. 4, p. 340, 1992
This paper reviews the legal implications for children born as a result of assisted human reproduction (AHR). Artificial insemination, egg donation, and preconception arrangements challenge family law principles, especially with respect to the determination of who constitutes a family member. The various forms of AHR complicate the legal significance of parenthood by making it possible for more than two individuals to be involved in the procreative process. This raises concerns about the divisibility of the rights and obligations of parenthood. Virtually all aspects of family law are regulated by provincial legislatures; only the law regulating marriage and divorce is under federal jurisdiction.
The paper outlines much of the existing legislative framework in each province and examines judicial decisions where courts have applied the existing law to decisions related to new reproductive technologies. One of the basic principles of family law is the law of filiation, which regulates parent-child relations. However, the existing law, in most cases, does not accommodate the complications in the attribution of parenthood arising when a child is born as a result of AHR. The paper also reviews other adequacies and inadequacies of existing family law in relation to AHR and discusses some of the related moral and social issue. The paper concludes by offering some regulatory choices.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 60
Keywords: assisted human reproduction, new reproductive technologies, AHR, NRT, Canada, family law, policy recommendations, parenting, family unit, parent child relation, filiation
JEL Classification: K39
Date posted: March 6, 2011