As Assisted Reproduction Technology Improves, What New Legal Challenges Will Emerge?

From in vitro fertilization to tubal embryo transfer, assisted reproduction technology (ART) allows a wide range of individuals to build families on their terms. Unfortunately, however, ART prompts a variety of legal issues. As new technology emerges, legal questions become all the more complicated. Keep an eye out for the following challenges accompanying future ART improvements:

Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening and Diagnosis

Today’s prospective parents can genetically profile embryos and oocytes prior to implantation. Ethically, however, the practice remains murky, with many skeptics expressing concern over the potential for eugenic selection.

Citizenship For Children Produced Through Sperm and Egg Donation

Prospective parents can conceive children using donor eggs or sperm from other countries—but do ensuing children count as citizens of the donor country? According to the State Department’s interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, citizenship is officially transferred through DNA. Unfortunately, necessary proof can be difficult to obtain. As donation across borders becomes more common, recipients will need to reconcile their desire for contributions from a specific agency with their wish to transfer citizenship to resulting children.

Use of Sperm, Eggs or Embryos Following a Loved One’s Death

Children allow spouses to retain a symbol of loved ones after they pass away, but the ethical implications of preserved sperm, egg or embryo usage can be worrisome. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine posits that requests should only be granted to surviving spouses, and even then, within a brief window of the deceased individual’s passing. Further legal issues may emerge involving the ensuing child’s rights to Social Security benefits.

Parent Status in Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy

One of the more recent and most controversial advancements in ART, mitochondrial replacement therapy (sometimes referred to as three-person in vitro) involves DNA from a third party. This approach allows women with mitochondrial mutations to give birth to children who are almost entirely genetically matched. Questions remain regarding the parenthood rights and responsibilities of the third party, however. Would this person be treated as a sperm donor? Critics also worry about the role MRT could play in genetic engineering.

Given the pace of technological change in assisted reproduction (and the relative lag of the legal system), seek representation from a family attorney who understands the latest developments in ART. Look to DiPietro Law Group for accurate counsel as you plan your family’s future.