Legal Regulation of Artificial Insemination and the New Reproductive Technologies

The Search for Clarification Continues
  • Joseph M. HealeyJr.


Concerns about the legal aspects of the new reproductive technologies—artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and ovum and zygote transfer—are part of the continuing public and professional discussions about what our societal policy toward these technologies ought to be. The concerns are many and varied and include the desirability and availability of the technologies and the potential liability of those who use them. The desire for a clarification of legal responsibility is especially fueled by a heightened fear of liability, which has contributed to the pressure for straightforward legal answers and for a clear, comprehensive public policy dealing with these technologies. Lawyers know all too well the impatient cries of “Tell us the law, not philosophy.” With respect to one of the technologies, artificial insemination with donor sperm (AID), the search for legal answers during the past two decades has produced a substantial body of law. Yet, even in this area, many gaps remain. More important, there has not emerged a clear public-policy framework within which alternative forms of reproduction can be evaluated. Though this lack of a framework is frustrating to those who want clear legal answers, it is not unexpected and is not entirely bad.


Stake Clarification Fami 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Healey, J., Legal aspects of artifical insemination by donor and paternity testing in Genetics and the Law (A. Milunsky and G. J. Annas, eds.) Plenum Press, New York (1976), 203.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Annas, G., Fathers Anonymous: Beyond the best interests of the sperm donor, in Genetics and the Law II (A. Milunsky and G. J. Annas eds.), Plenum Press, New York (1980), 331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid, at 338.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Arriving at a complete current list of state statutes is not an easy task. Three recent attempts did not result in identical lists. My own review produced at least one statute not cited by any of the other three authors. See Wadlington, W. Artificial conception: The challenge for family law, Virginia Law Review 69:465, 483 (1983);Google Scholar
  5. 4a).
    Smith, G., The razor’s edge of human bonding: Artificial fathers and surrogate mothers, Western New England Law Review 5:639, 642 (1983);Google Scholar
  6. 4b).
    Andrews, L. The stork market: The law of the new reproductive technologies, American Bar Association Journal 70:50, 54–5 (1984). From these three sources and my own research, the following list has been compiled:Google Scholar
  7. 4c).
    Alaska Stat. Sect. 25.20.045 (1982)Google Scholar
  8. 4d).
    Arkansas Stat. Sect. 61–141(C) (1983)Google Scholar
  9. 4e).
    California Civ. Code Sect. 7005 (1982)Google Scholar
  10. 4f).
    Colo. Rev. Stat. Sect. 19–6–106 (1978)Google Scholar
  11. 4g).
    Conn. Gen. Stat. Sect. 45–69F-W (1981)Google Scholar
  12. 4h).
    Fla. Stat. Ann. Sect. 742.11 (1984)Google Scholar
  13. 4i).
    Ga. Code Ann. Sect. 19–7–21 (1984); Sect. 43–34–42 (1984)Google Scholar
  14. 4j).
    Ill. Ann. Stat. Ch. 40 Sect. 1451 (1983–4)Google Scholar
  15. 4k).
    Kan. Stat Ann. Sect. 23–128 to 23–130 (1983)Google Scholar
  16. 4l).
    La. Civ. Code Ann. Art. 188 (1983)Google Scholar
  17. 4m).
    Md. Est. and Trusts Code Ann. Sect. 1–206(B) (1983): Health Code, Sect. 20–214Google Scholar
  18. 4n).
    Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 46, Sect. 4B (1984)Google Scholar
  19. 4o).
    Mich. Comp. Laws Sect. 333. 2824; Sect. 700. 11 (1980)Google Scholar
  20. 4p).
    Minn. Stat. Sect. 257. 56 (1982)Google Scholar
  21. 4q).
    Mont. Code Ann. Sect. 40–6–106 (1983)Google Scholar
  22. 4r).
    Nev. Rev. Stat. Sect. 126. 061 (1979)Google Scholar
  23. 4s).
  24. 4t).
    Law Sect. 73 (1983–4)Google Scholar
  25. 4u).
    N.C. Gen. Stat. Sect. 49A-1 (1976)Google Scholar
  26. 4v).
    Okla. Stat. Tit. 10, Sect. 551–553 (1983–4)Google Scholar
  27. 4w).
    Or. Rev. Stat. Stat. Sect. 109.239–109.247; Sect. 667.355 to 677.370 (1984)Google Scholar
  28. 4x).
    Tenn. Code Ann. Sect. 53–446 (1982)Google Scholar
  29. 4y).
    Tex. Fam. Code Ann. Sect. 12.03 (1983)Google Scholar
  30. 4z).
    Va. Code Ann. Sect. 64.1–7.1 (1984)Google Scholar
  31. 4aa).
    Wash. Rev. Code Ann. Sect. 26.26.050(1984–5)Google Scholar
  32. 4ab.
    Wis. Stat. Ann. Sect. 891.40 (1983–4); Sect. 767.47(9)Google Scholar
  33. 4ac).
    Wyo. Stat. Sect. 14–2–103 (1984)Google Scholar
  34. 5.
    See Healey, notes 13, 15, and 16, and Wadlington, pp. 477–479.Google Scholar
  35. 6.
    See, for example, CM. v. C.C. ,170 N.J. Super. 586, 407A2d. 849 (Juv. and Dom. Rel. Ct. 1979).Google Scholar
  36. 7.
    Oregon Revised Statutes, Section 677.370 (1984). The issue of screening sperm donors was addressed by the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research in its report Screening and Counseling for Genetic Conditions ,pp. 68–70, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (1983). See also Should sperm donors be screened for sexually transmitted diseases New England Journal of Medicine 309:1058 (1983).Google Scholar
  37. 8.
    Wadlington, pp. 476–7.Google Scholar
  38. 9.
    For medical examples, see Van den Berg, J., Medical Power and Medical Ethics ,W. W. Norton, New York (1978).Google Scholar
  39. 10.
    McCormick, R., How Brave a New World Doubleday and Company, Garden City, NY (1981), 334– 335.Google Scholar
  40. 11.
    For a general discussion of the impact of an increase in the available options upon society, see Berger, P. The Heretical Imperative ,Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, NY (1979), 1–31.Google Scholar
  41. 11a).
    For a contrasting view of the desirability of various reproductive options, see Ramsey, P. Fabricated Man ,Yale University Press, New Haven, 1970.Google Scholar
  42. 11b).
    Hanscombe, G. The right to Lesbian parenthood, Journal of Medical Ethics 9:133–135 (1983)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 11c).
    Kern, P., and Ridolfi, K., Note: The fourteenth amendment’s protection of a woman’s right to be a single parent through artificial insemination by donor, Women’s Rights Law Reporter 7:251–284 (1982).Google Scholar
  44. 12.
    See Annas, G., Life, liberty and the pursuit of organ sales, The Hastings Center Report 14(1):22–23 (1984)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 12.
    Scott, R., The Body as Property ,Viking Press, New York (1981).Google Scholar
  46. 13.
    See Robertson, J., Procreative liberty and the control of conception, pregnancy and childbirth, Virginia Law Review 69:405–464 (1983).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 14.
    A valuable framework for the development of a comprehensive public policy has been offered by Wadlington, at pp. 487–515.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Aubrey Milunsky and George J. Annas 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph M. HealeyJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community MedicineUniversity of Connecticut School of MedicineFarmingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations