Is There a Constitutional Right to Select the Genes of One’s Offspring?

Andrew B. Coan

Volume 63, Issue 1, 233-296

The Supreme Court has long recognized a due process right to make deeply personal decisions such as whether to bear or beget a child. Might this right extend to selecting the genes of one’s offspring? Perhaps more important, should courts interpret it to do so? Thus far, discussion of these questions has focused almost exclusively on the normative goals that a constitutional commitment to procreative liberty should be taken to embrace. That is undoubtedly an important issue, but it cannot tell us whether courts are the institution best suited to carry any particular goal into effect. This is a basic but frequently overlooked point in constitutional analysis and one that has received next to no attention in the context of assisted reproductive technologies. This Article begins to remedy the oversight. In so doing, it has two overlapping goals: to enrich the constitutional analysis of emerging issues in reproductive liberty and to use those issues as a vehicle for exploring the complexities of institutional analysis more generally.

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