Fertility Fraud, Legal Firsts, and Medical Ethics
Obstetrics and Gynecology, Forthcoming
6 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2019
Date Written: 2019
On May 5, 2019, Indiana became the first state to legislate against a doctor’s failure to obtain his fertility patient’s consent before inseminating her using his own sperm. Less than a month later, Texas passed an even stricter law against fertility fraud, as the practice is called. The explosion of at-home DNA testing has recently uncovered dozens of doctors who conceived scores of offspring using their own sperm instead of the samples provided by a spouse, an unknown donor, or a donor that the patients had selected. This revelation has upended families, revealed webs of biological half-siblings, and confounded the legal system. Fertility fraud is a pressing case study about the demands of informed consent and modern struggles between patient wellbeing and autonomy in the clinical practice of obstetric and fertility medicine. The answers to these hard questions are also giving rise to new criminal and civil penalties that are codifying those developments in medical ethics into law.
Keywords: fertility fraud, informed consent, DNA testing, donor anonymity
JEL Classification: K10, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation