Wrongful life and wrongful birth: legal aspects of failed genetic testing in oocyte donation

Penn Bioeth J. 2005 Apr 2;1(1):1-4.


The field of reproductive medicine has all but exploded in recent years, allowing more people access to novel treatments. New technologies have been introduced so rapidly that ethics and the law have been unable to respond appropriately. A particularly promising reproductive therapy, oocyte donation, and the wide variety of prenatal genetic tests already available, will theoretically present the legal world with a variety of new challenges. How should the law respond to potential wrongful birth and wrongful life suits resulting from failed genetic testing, if the child in question was conceived using a donor egg? Under what circumstances should the physician be held liable? Under what circumstances might the donor be culpable? This paper reviews scholarly opinions and existing case law in order to answer these questions.

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn
  • Genetic Testing / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Liability, Legal*
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Oocyte Donation / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Parents
  • Physicians
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Wrongful Life*