Beyond Cloning: Expanding Reproductive Options for Same-Sex Couples
Brooklyn Law Review, Vol. 66, No. 3, Fall 2000
34 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2001 Last revised: 16 Nov 2012
The possibility of human cloning has sparked debate, a proposed moratorium on cloning by the National Bioethics Advisory Commission and state legislation prohibiting the use of cloning techniques in human reproduction. Yet, anti-cloning guidelines or laws may have the unintended and unfortunate effect of preventing genetic reproduction by same-sex couples.
Further advances in cloning technology could permit same-sex couples to have children whose genes come from both members of the couple. If all of the genes of a single adult can become the genes of a child through cloning, then half the genes of two adults should someday be able to become the genes of a child.
Such a development could yield profound benefits. Homosexual couples have the same strong interest as heterosexual couples in raising children with whom they have biological ties. Genetically related children permit the continuation of one's lineage and heritage in a way that is not possible with biologically unrelated children. Moreover, with genetic parenthood, the same-sex family would look more like the heterosexual family, and that could help diminish societal stigmatization of homosexual individuals. Prejudice is rooted in large part in perceived differences. If differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals are narrowed, it might help reduce discrimination by heterosexuals against homosexual persons.
Despite the value of same-sex reproduction, laws designed to prevent human cloning could inadvertently preclude genetic reproduction by same-sex couples. Anti-cloning legislation defines cloning in a way that would include genetic reproduction by same-sex couples, especially male-male couples. Such an effect of the laws indicates the need for revision, and possibly abandonment, of anti-cloning legislation.
JEL Classification: I1, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation