Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2008




American Bar Association




Sexual reproduction, also known as making babies the old-fashioned way, has always brought with it significant challenges for family law, especially regarding protecting the best interests of children, and the identification of parents with the right and responsibility to rear them. But these challenges often seem mundane in the face of what has evolved since physicians have been injected into baby making and thus into novel parent-child relationships. The addition of physicians and their "new" medical technologies, sometimes called Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), have forced the law to reconsider the very definition of motherhood and have radically altered society's view of the human embryo. ART has also raised entirely new questions involving deceased fathers, contract children for single people and single-sex couples, postmenopausal pregnancy, as well as the prospects for cloning and germline genetic enhancements.

Whether these biotechnologically based changes should be the domain of family law or health law, or even international law, continues to be contested.' As recently as fifty years ago, there still were no "new" reproductive technologies, only the established technique of artificial insemination by donor. Emphasis in the field of what we now know as reproductive medicine was almost exclusively centered on preventing conception and terminating unwanted pregnancies rather than on developing new ways to have a baby.

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