Last week I put up a post that was to begin a thread on evaluating possible rules for third-party reproduction. That post identified one end of a spectrum of possible approaches to the use of third-party gametes. In a nutshell, at one end of the spectrum is a set of rules that prohibit or make impossible third-party reproduction. [This will make more sense if you actually read that post. I will not repeat myself here.]
Here I want to think about what the other end of the spectrum looks like. I think it is basically what the law is in a number of states–say CA and WA. In those states a gamete provider is, by operation of law, not a legal parent. That means anyone can use third-party gametes without fear of the gamete provider invoking legal rights. There are no requirements of involvement by any medical professional (though there is no way to use third-party eggs without professional assistance). Just as the rules I described last time seem the most hostile to use of third-party gametes, this simple rule seems to me to be the most conducive to the use of third-party gametes.
It’s probably worth noting that the third-party reproduction hostile approach I mentioned last time is purely hypothetical. Certainly no state has laws that approach what I described and I cannot even think of any countries that do. By contrast, the third-party reproduction conducive approach really does exist in its purest form in a small number of states.
Something close to that rule it exists in many states–at least for married couples. What I mean is that most if not all states, where a married couple uses third-party gametes to conceive, the spouse and not the gamete provider is the legal parent.
And I suppose what we can conclude from all this is something I’m sure we all knew–that for the most part, the laws in the US are supportive of those using third-party gametes.
This conclusion makes me wonder about the utility of these two posts, but perhaps they can still be justified. Ultimately the question is where along that spectrum I’ve just described the rule should be set. The next thing to do is to look at the harms that we carefully cataloged sometime back and figure out how they stack up against the law. Ultimately any choice will require trade-offs and the key thing is knowing what the trade-offs are.