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Exploring the Connections between Adoption and IVF: Twibling Analyses

Minnesota Law Review Headnotes, Vol. 95, p. 60, 2011

Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-05-02

22 Pages Posted: 13 May 2011  

Susan Frelich Appleton

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Robert A. Pollak

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: May 5, 2011

Abstract

This essay responds to Trading-Off Reproductive Technology and Adoption: Does Subsidizing IVF Decrease Adoption Rates and Should It Matter?, in which I. Glenn Cohen and Daniel L. Chen analyze what they describe as an arm-chair principle called “the substitution theory” - the claim that facilitating treatment for infertility, including subsidizing in vitro fertilization (IVF), decreases adoptions. Cohen and Chen venture well beyond the arm chair, closely interrogating the substitution theory both normatively and empirically and concluding, contrary to the substitution theory, that IVF subsidies do not decrease and might actually increase adoptions.

Returning to the arm chair, this Response offers two different perspectives. First, we use a family law lens to focus on important elements of Cohen and Chen’s analysis, both explicit and implicit, including adoption, IVF, genetic connections, reproductive autonomy, and gender. We show how these elements are shaped by the authors’ assumptions, prevailing legal principles, and our culture more generally. Next, we use an economic lens to reveal how mandated subsidies for IVF produce varied conduct, depending on the preferences and resources of those who would consider adoption and IVF. Approaching Cohen and Chen’s analysis from these two different vantage points demonstrates that arm-chair theorizing, properly done, can illuminate the relationship between IVF and adoption.

Keywords: IVF, adoption, assisted reproduction, economics, genetics, gender, reproductive autonomy, insurance, reproductive technology, family law, bioethics

JEL Classification: I12, J13, K36

Suggested Citation

Appleton, Susan Frelich and Pollak, Robert A., Exploring the Connections between Adoption and IVF: Twibling Analyses (May 5, 2011). Minnesota Law Review Headnotes, Vol. 95, p. 60, 2011; Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-05-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1838740

Susan Frelich Appleton (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

Robert A. Pollak

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States
314-935-4918 (Phone)
314-935-6359 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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