The New York Times Agrees with Me on Enforcing Reproductive Contracts


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OK. OK. Not the Times per se, but the newspaper's editorial observer Adam Cohen does. On today's op/ed page, Cohen writes a column, "A Legal Puzzle: Can A Baby Have Three Biological Parents?"  In the column Cohen muses over various conundrums allegedly posed by recent legal wrangling over modern reproductive techniques, but comes to the right conclusion:

Parenthood cannot be reduced to a formula, but the law should move toward a greater recognition that the intent of the people involved (emphasis mine) is more important than the genes. That would provide useful guidance for courts to think about fractional parents — especially if the day comes when three or more people want to combine their DNA to create a baby.

This is more or less the same conclusion I came to in my recent column, "Who's Your Daddy? Who's Your Other Daddy? Who's Your Mommy?":

Notions about the importance of genetic ties clearly inform the negotiations and the expectations between parties in various reproductive contracts, be they old-fashioned marriage contracts or newfangled surrogacy contracts. But courts should look beyond genetics to the reproductive contracts to which the parties actually agreed. In general the best public policy for looking out for the interests of children will be to enforce the contracts under whose terms they were brought into being.

By the way, Cohen is a bit behind times on the three biological parents thing–there are already at least 20 children born whose genes derive from three different "parents" by means of ooplasmic transfer.