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University of Baltimore Law Forum

Abstract

Modern statutes on parentage regarding artificial insemination and the cases that have interpreted them reflect the explosion of family gender roles by second-wave feminism. Although a natural father now is generally expected to share the rights and obligations of parentage with a natural mother, this is not so if he is a mere contributor of biological material. Are the modern presumptions underlying such statutes, what we used to want, what we have come to need? Or, is current law too much a reflection of the essentialism for which the second-wave is sometimes justly criticized?

Third-wave individualism and resistance to inflexible doctrine supply interesting lenses for an examination of the developing law in this area. Particularly, a recent Kansas 1 case, In the Interest of K.M.H., is the first to evaluate a statute designed to give power to individual choice by making a parentage presumption secondary to an agreement between a woman and a sperm donor that the donor will be treated as a parent.

This paper explores the context and outcome of this case and whether we have exhausted the limits of legal reform that can be achieved through the creation of- even progressive - presumptions about parentage. Given the changes wrought under the influence of the second-wave, do such presumptions retain vitality and usefulness? Or, do they produce only a different, but not necessarily better, set of obstacles to formation and preservation of individual families and their informed choices?

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