Societal Disregard for the Needs of the Infertile

Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Ethics, Forthcoming

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-32

33 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2015 Last revised: 13 Aug 2015

David Orentlicher

Indiana University - Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Date Written: July 25, 2015

Abstract

Social policies in the United States often favor families and encourage reproduction — but not for infertile persons. When the infertile want to have children, health care funding policy, legal rules, and popular sentiments generally are not very sympathetic. Infertile couples typically must rely on their own resources to procreate, without reimbursement by their health insurance, the law may erect barriers to assisted reproductive services, as with prohibitions against surrogate motherhood, and infertile couples may not find much concern for their plight from friends or even some family members.

Such discounting of the needs of the infertile is unjust and reflects a misunderstanding of the nature of infertility. Infertility is a disability — and a very serious one for some people — yet it is often misperceived as not a real handicap or even as enabling. Scholars writing on reproductive issues frequently valorize life without children. These societal sentiments are reflected in anti-discrimination law. The protections that persons with other disabilities enjoy do not extend to the infertile. Respect for the fundamental interest in reproduction justifies changes in social attitudes and reforms in the law to ensure fair treatment for the infertile.

Keywords: infertility, Americans with Disabilities Act, surrogate motherhood, in vitro fertilization, uterus transplantation, equal protection

JEL Classification: I10, I18, K19

Suggested Citation

Orentlicher, David, Societal Disregard for the Needs of the Infertile (July 25, 2015). Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Ethics, Forthcoming ; Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-32. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2635923

David Orentlicher (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States
317-274-4993 (Phone)
317-274-0455 (Fax)

Paper statistics

Downloads
50
Abstract Views
589