Parental Parity: Intentional Parenthood's Promise

34 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2016

See all articles by Melanie B. Jacobs

Melanie B. Jacobs

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law

Date Written: May 2016


Parental Parity begins a critical dialogue regarding the reformation of legal parentage. Scholars have been advocating for more than a decade that courts and legislatures eschew traditional status based parentage (e.g., birth and biology) in the context of parentage establishment when assisted reproductive technologies (“ARTs”) are used. Parental Parity sets forth a much bolder agenda: to use intentional parenthood as the default framework to establish all legal parent-child relationships at birth. Intentional parenthood is a superior parentage establishment doctrine because it appropriately captures who should and should not be a parent. It avoids the over and under inclusive problems of traditional status based parentage. Most importantly, intentional parenthood yields parental parity: the doctrine’s neutrality prevents inherent discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, marital status, and class. While other scholars have written about the issue of intentional parenthood, no other scholar has specifically advocated for intentional parenthood as the default basis for establishing all parent-child relationships at birth. Parental Parity represents the culmination of my previous scholarship advocating against status-based parentage and sets forth a broader agenda and proposal to reform parenthood in the 21st century.

Keywords: parent, child, family, gender, equality, paternity, discrimination, and reproductive rights

Suggested Citation

Jacobs, Melanie B., Parental Parity: Intentional Parenthood's Promise (May 2016). Buffalo Law Review Vol. 64, No. 3, Available at SSRN:

Melanie B. Jacobs (Contact Author)

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law ( email )

Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics