Medical Hope, Legal Pitfalls: Potential Legal Issues in the Emerging Field of Oncofertility
University of Baltimore - School of Law
Dorothy E. Roberts
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Lina M. Rodriguez
Teresa K. Woodruff
Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine
Santa Clara Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 673-716, 2009
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
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
Date posted: August 5, 2011 ; Last revised: March 13, 2012