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A Legal Jurisprudential Deliberation on Lineage and Inheritance of the Pre-Implantation Embryo

The pre-implantation embryo, as the product of human reproduction process through unconventional methods and as the result of advancement in human knowledge, raises legal issues as well as carrying medical aspects and social consequences.

The inevitability of this technology has led jurists to provide appropriate solutions to regulate the legal aspects of this complex phenomenon and also to prove their modern ideas with regard to the old legal structure and codify new laws according to the requirements of time and place.

Today, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is not just a medical issue, but certainly also a complex legal issue, in which lawyers can play an important role by establishing the suitable legal conditions to regulate legal relations by introducing necessary theories. One of the important and controversial issues, which can be approached legally, is the study of the pre-implantation embryo with regard to property law, especially the inheritance of the pre-implantation embryo. Article 3 of the Conditions of Embryo Donation to Infertile Couples Act of the year 2003 only stipulates the responsibilities of the intended couple and born child in terms of support, upbringing, maintenance and respect; it does not specify any law regarding the other financial outcomes of lineage like “inheritance”, which makes this law imperfect. Also, in view of the fact that lineage is one of the causes of inheritance; studying inheritance without analyzing lineage in the pre-implantation embryo is not possible. Therefore, it is recommended to study lineage and inheritance simultaneously. Some questions arise in this regard, including whether it is possible to prove lineage between the genetic father and mother with a laboratory child, and between the owner of the womb (that is intended wife) and the child. Supposing the lineage is proved, what is the state of inheritance between them? Lawyers and Islamic jurists have different opinions regarding the lineage of the pre-implantation embryo and inheritance. The author believes that the owner of the sperm is regarded as the genetic father of the child and in terms of lineage between laboratory child and mother two genetic and carrying factors must be considered. Thereby, considering inheritance between the genetic father and the child is possible according to inheritance law. Regarding the inheritance state of a laboratory child from two mothers the problem can be solved by using the equality rule within the framework of inheritance law.

Bibliographic Information

Title: A Legal Jurisprudential Deliberation on Lineage and Inheritance of the Pre-Implantation Embryo

Author: Muhammad Taqi Rafiei

Published in: International Journal of Fertil Steril, Volume 5, Number 4, Jan-Mar 2012, Pages: 245-258

 Language: English

Length: 28 pages

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