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Fragmenting Fatherhood: The Regulation of Reproductive Technologies

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Reproductive technologies offer the potential to break down parenthood into a number of constituent parts. These disruptive possibilities mean that the regulation of reproductive technologies holds important potential for study, providing a significant resource that has been little analysed with regard to fatherhood. This study attempts to remedy that lacuna through consideration of a range of recent developments in this area of English law. It reaches two general conclusions. First, while the law regulating reproductive technologies attributes great importance to fatherhood, this is rooted primarily (though not exclusively) in concerns for the symbolic importance of fathers, rather than in more practical considerations such as ensuring financial provision or a second hands-on carer for a child. Secondly, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990) contains a clear attempt to protect and entrench the role of the father as completing the nuclear family. However, recent developments suggest that this legal preference for the nuclear family is subject to clear emerging cracks.

Keywords: Diane Blood; Fatherhood; Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990); donor anonymity; reproduction; reproductive technologies

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Law Department, Keele University.

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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