Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 301–304 | Cite as

Clarifying legal tests: Who a parent is and how to warn of unknown risks

  • Bernadette RichardsEmail author
Recent Developments


We live in an increasingly complex world: family relationships are changing, technology is making inroads into medical treatment, and what was once seemingly impossible is, at times, now possible. The law often struggles to keep up with medical advances and shifting boundaries of relationships as they give rise to legal questions of increasing complexity, but in the absence of specific regulatory frameworks, courts are called upon to apply well-established principles to new issues as they come before them. This is not a problem unique to our era; imagine the days when cars first took to the roads, planes to the sky, sounds were transmitted through radio, or handheld recording devices were introduced. Humanity and technology are constantly evolving, and systems of regulation must also adapt and evolve. The two decisions considered here provide practical examples of how well-established legal tests can be applied to new challenges and fill apparent regulatory gaps so that...


Innovation Parent Sperm donor Informed consent Material risks 



  1. Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)Google Scholar
  2. In re G (Children) [2006] 1 WLR 2305Google Scholar
  3. Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth)Google Scholar
  4. Groth v Banks (2013) 49 Fam LR 510Google Scholar
  5. Masson v Parsons [2019] HCA 21Google Scholar
  6. Mills v Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust [2019] EWHC 936Google Scholar
  7. Status of Children Act 1996 (NSW)Google Scholar
  8. Mt Isa Mines Ltd v Pusey (1970) 125 CLR 383Google Scholar
  9. Seery, S. 2019. Can a sperm donor be a legal parent? In landmark decision, the High Court says yes. The Conversation, June 19 (updated June 22). Accessed 29 June 2019.

Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law SchoolUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations