Am I My Son? Human Clones and the Modern Family

by W. Nicholson Price II

11 Colum. Sci. & Tech. L. Rev. 118 (2010) (Published August 9, 2010)


As increasingly complex assisted reproductive technologies (ART) become available, legal and social conceptions of family become ambiguous and sometimes misaligned. The as-yet unrealized technology of cloning provides the clearest example of this confusion: is the legal parent of a clone the individual cloned, or are that individual’s parents also the parents of the clone? These issues have been generally obscured by the debates around the deployment of ART, especially cloning; far less consideration has been given to the way these new technologies impact the way we think about and develop law on the relationships between genetic, social, gestational, and legal parenthood. This article considers these issues in depth, looking at competing common-law frameworks for determining parentage, the statutory framework of parentage, and deeper theoretical concerns underlying the area. The article concludes that an intent-based framework, with at least some external limitations, most accurately matches law to social views of parents using new forms of ART.

About the Author

JD/PhD Candidate (Biology), Columbia University 2011.

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