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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

In vitro fertilization ("IVF") raises a host of legal and ethical concerns, among which is the use in non-therapeutic research of "spare embryos" created during the IVF process. This Note first discusses the IVF procedure, the creation of spare embryos, and the types of research that engender controversy. The Note next reviews the current legal status of the embryo, concluding that although the fetus has been afforded some legal protections, its legal status remains largely uncertain. The Note then surveys federal and state regulations that potentially relate to research on spare embryos and finds them inadequate to deal with the issues raised by this type of research. The Note compares this situation with recommendations for regulation that have been made in the United Kingdom and Australia. Finally, the Note suggests that the time is ripe for regulation of this sensitive area in the United States and proposes guidelines for future legislation.

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