Cloning and the Preservation of Family Integrity

Louisiana Law Review, Vol. 59, pp. 1019-1040, 1999

22 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2000 Last revised: 16 Nov 2012

See all articles by David Orentlicher

David Orentlicher

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law


Cloning turns on its head our view of reproduction. Instead of creating a new person by mixing the genetic material of two different parents, cloning permits the creation of a new person with the genetic material of just one parent. Because of this reconfiguration of reproduction, many scholars and other members of the public oppose the cloning of humans.

I argue that this reconfiguration is in fact one of the most compelling reasons to permit cloning. Cloning not only turns on its head the way people can reproduce, it also turns on its head one of the chief objections to other artificial methods of reproduction. Specifically, cloning very directly addresses the concern that, when an infertile couple turns to artificial insemination, egg donation or surrogate motherhood, they must bring a third party as a genetic parent into their procreative relationship. For some commentators, this is sufficient reason to condemn artificial methods of reproduction. Even if one would not reject artificial methods of reproduction just because of their implications for marital and parent-child relationships, the role of other persons raises important concerns. Sometimes, the other people want to stay involved in the life of their genetic children. In all cases of artificial reproduction with another person, the couple runs the risk that the other person's egg, sperm or placenta will transmit undesired infectious, genetic or toxic disease. By relying on cloning, infertile couples--and single persons--can have children without having to involve someone else as a genetic parent in their procreative activities.

This benefit of cloning has constitutional, as well as policy, dimensions. Cloning permits many infertile couples to pursue their fundamental interest in procreation without sacrificing their fundamental interest in the integrity of family relationships.

JEL Classification: I18, K32

Suggested Citation

Orentlicher, David, Cloning and the Preservation of Family Integrity. Louisiana Law Review, Vol. 59, pp. 1019-1040, 1999, Available at SSRN:

David Orentlicher (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

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Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

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