The battle for the future of assisted reproduction technologies (ART) has been joined. The tacit compromise underlying assisted reproduction - no laws are passed that even tangentially sanction embryo destruction and no laws are passed that intrude on the profitability of fertility treatments - may be coming to an end. As use of ART has increased, so have calls for supervision and oversight. In the wake of "Octomom" Nadya Suleman's use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to give birth to octuplets, the calls to regulate assisted reproduction have become even more pressing. At the same time, religious communities ambivalent about ART have increased the calls to reform ART practices to bring them more in line with religious teachings and spiritually informed notions of human dignity. In this paper, we focus on what may become a new flash point in the effort to craft normative understandings about assisted reproduction. That flash point is the treatment of the hundreds of thousands of extra embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the efforts to pass legislation that will recognize these embryos as human beings and facilitate their adoption. We examine the implications of these efforts for the future of assisted reproduction.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 503; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 503
Naomi Cahn & June Carbone, Embryo Fundamentalism, 18 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 1015 (2010).