Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy


Reproductive rights, Fertility clinics, Access control


As has been the case with other types of medical tourism, the phenomenon of cross border fertility care ("CBFC") has sparked concern about the lack of global or even national harmonization in the regulation of the fertility industry. The diversity of laws around the globe leads would-be parents to forum shop for a welcoming place to make babies. Focusing specifically on the phenomenon of travel to the United States, this Article takes up the question of whether there should be any legal barriers to those who come to the United States seeking CBFC. In part, CBFC suffers from the same general concerns raised about the use of fertility treatment in general, but it is possible to imagine a subset of arguments that would lead to forbidding or at least discouraging people from coming to the United States for CBFC, either as a matter of law or policy. This paper stands in opposition to any such effort and contemplates the moral and ethical concerns about CBFC and how, and if, those concerns warrant expression in law. Part I describes the conditions that lead some couples and individuals to leave their home countries to access fertility treatments abroad and details why the United States, with its comparatively liberal regulation of ART, has become a popular CBFC destination for travelers from around the world. Part II offers and refutes arguments supporting greater domestic control over those who seek to satisfy their desires for CBFC in the United States by reasserting the importance of the right of procreation while also noting appropriate concerns about justice and equality in the market for babies. Part III continues the exploration of justice by investigating the question of international cooperation in legislating against perceived wrongs. This Part concludes that consistent legislation across borders is appropriate where there is consensus about the wrong of an act, but it is unnecessary and inappropriate where there remain cultural conflicts about certain practices—in this case assisted reproduction.

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