Fertility Fraud, Legal Firsts, and Medical Ethics

Obstetrics and Gynecology, Forthcoming

San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 19-404

6 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2019

See all articles by Dov Fox

Dov Fox

University of San Diego: School of Law

I. Glenn Cohen

Harvard Law School

Eli Y Adashi

Brown University Medical School

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

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

Fox, Dov and Cohen, I. Glenn and Adashi, Eli Y, Fertility Fraud, Legal Firsts, and Medical Ethics (2019). Obstetrics and Gynecology, Forthcoming; San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 19-404. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3447386 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3447386

Dov Fox (Contact Author)

University of San Diego: School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
United States
(619) 260-4600 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sandiego.edu/law/about/directory/biography.php?profile_id=3332

I. Glenn Cohen

Harvard Law School ( email )

1525 Massachusetts Avenue
Griswold Hall 503
Cambridge, 02138
United States

Eli Y Adashi

Brown University Medical School ( email )

Providence, RI 02912
United States

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