Developing a Reproductive Justice Approach to Regulating Formal and Informal Sperm Donation

Almeling, Rene, Lisa Campo-Engelstein, and Brian T. Nguyen, co-editors. Sperm|Health|Politics, New York University Press, Forthcoming

Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2023-78

13 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2023

See all articles by Naomi Cahn

Naomi Cahn

University of Virginia School of Law

Sonia M. Suter

The George Washington University Law School

Date Written: December 14, 2023

Abstract

This essay explores the regulation of sperm donation from a reproductive justice perspective. It compares formal sperm donation, which involves fertility clinics and sperm banks, and informal sperm donation, which arises through social media, classified ads, conversations, etc. While there are reasons some donors and recipients may prefer the informal market, the piece notes the risks associated with the less regulated market. Finally, it examines and responds to concerns about regulating sperm donation, including worries about limiting sperm supply, reproductive autonomy, exceptionalizing assisted reproductive technologies, treating genetic connections as privileged, and majoritarian values hurting marginalized groups. Ultimately, it concludes that concerns about regulating sperm donation should be taken seriously, but rather than using them to prevent regulation, it argues that these objections should guide regulations to promote reproductive justice and equity for many groups, including parents, LGBTQ communities, people of color and donor conceived people.

Keywords: assisted reproduction, sperm donation, parentage, commodification

Suggested Citation

Cahn, Naomi R. and Suter, Sonia M., Developing a Reproductive Justice Approach to Regulating Formal and Informal Sperm Donation (December 14, 2023). Almeling, Rene, Lisa Campo-Engelstein, and Brian T. Nguyen, co-editors. Sperm|Health|Politics, New York University Press, Forthcoming, Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2023-78, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4665036

Naomi R. Cahn (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Sonia M. Suter

The George Washington University Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-9257 (Phone)
202-994-5614 (Fax)

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