Reproduction, genetics and the law
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Both reproductive medicine and genetics are seeing rapid, and in some instances, revolutionary medical and scientific advances. Courts have been called upon to resolve a variety of novel disputes arising from these areas, and more can be anticipated as these technologies continue to develop and their use becomes more widespread. This article discusses some of the most relevant areas of the law and litigation that currently bear on reproduction and genetics or that may be anticipated to do so in the future. Specific developments and judicial decisions addressing them include: legal theories of wrongful birth and wrongful life and their application to children born with genetic impairments; a physician’s duty to warn family members about a relative’s genetic disease; disputes over reproductive materials and non-reproductive cells and tissues; unauthorized genetic testing in the workplace; and genetic discrimination. It is hoped that this discussion will be of value to medical and legal professionals and policy makers who work with these concepts in the increasingly inter-related fields of law and medicine.