Medical Hope, Legal Pitfalls: Potential Legal Issues in the Emerging Field of Oncofertility

45 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2011 Last revised: 13 Mar 2012

Gregory Dolin

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Dorothy E. Roberts

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Lina M. Rodriguez

Northwestern University

Teresa K. Woodruff

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

The article will begin its discussion by identifying the values at stake in the field of oncofertility. These values include the constitutional protection of the rights of women and minors to bear children and to use reproduction-assisting technologies, as well as the feminist critique of gendered expectations that may pressure women to use these technologies.

Part III will focus on the medical options of oncofertility. It will also discuss some conditions that may lead otherwise fertile and young patients to lose their ability to bear children as a side-effect of necessary medical treatment. The article will then proceed to discuss briefly the current state of the art and the various medical options available to patients wishing to preserve fertility.

After laying out both the medico-scientific and legal groundwork, the article will then address the potential legal questions that may emerge as the field of oncofertility develops. Can or must parents consent to a "medically unnecessary" surgery on behalf of a child to preserve her fertility? Who owns the excised tissue and the gametes contained within it? Additionally, legal issues that arise in conducting research on excised tissues for the purposes of future reproduction will be discussed. We avoid making definitive predictions of what the law relating to oncofertility will look like. Rather, our purpose is to suggest a framework based on the current state of the law which can help to answer these questions.

Keywords: oncofertility, constitutional protection, rights of women and minors, child bearing, reproduction-assisting technologies, medical options, fertility, surgery, excised tissue, gametes, parental authority, male circumcision, female genital cutting, sex assignment surgery, sterilization

JEL Classification: K19, K39, K49, I18, I19

Suggested Citation

Dolin, Gregory and Roberts, Dorothy E. and Rodriguez, Lina M. and Woodruff, Teresa K., Medical Hope, Legal Pitfalls: Potential Legal Issues in the Emerging Field of Oncofertility (2009). Santa Clara Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 673-716, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1890744 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1890744

Gregory Dolin (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

Dorothy E. Roberts

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Lina M. Rodriguez

Northwestern University

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Teresa K. Woodruff

Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine

Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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