Are You My Parent? Are You My Child? The Role of Genetics and Race in Defining Relationships after Reproductive Technological Mistakes
5 DePaul J. Health Care L. 15 (2002)
42 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2012
Date Written: 2002
New reproductive technologies have blurred the line between traditional definitions of genetic parents and parents as caretakers; but as with most new technologies the law has not adequately evolved to take into account these new definitions and their consequences. The lack of clearly defined parents leaves adults with ambiguous roles when the child produced to have has different genetic ties than intended. Racial differences between parents and children further confuses traditional perceptions of parenthood.
This paper will discusses the issues confronting families whose attempts to use new reproductive technologies to have genetic children have been thwarted by errors, leading to children being born to the "wrong" parents. I argue that parenting is more than a genetic connection to a child, yet should be a starting point for determining parenthood, considering the emotional consequences for those that consider themselves to be "parents." I include background information on reproductive technologies, the Supreme Court's views on the rights of parents and who is considered to be a "parent," and on the impact of race on new reproductive technologies and the definitions of parent. I discuss case studies about "wrong" genetic material, both gametes and embryos, being used to create children, and how this affects all of the people who wish to be considered parents, especially when there are racialized aspects to the "wrongness". Also, I discuss policy implications, stating how issues of conflicting parents such as in the case studies could be resolved.
Keywords: IVF, reproductive technologies, parenting, genetics, race
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