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Mutcherson, Kimberly M. “Disabling Dreams of Parenthood: The Fertility Industry, Anti-Discrimination and Parents with Disabilities.” Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice, Forthcoming 27, no. 311 (September 10, 2009): 311–64.


In this article Mutcherson discusses the complications and challenges that potential disabled patients face with fertility doctors. She argues that there needs to be better reasoning and transparency when rejections are give to patients by fertility and medical providers. Furthermore, she argues that these rejections should rest upon concrete evaluations based on the risks to the patients and to future children. Furthermore, she clarifies how one’s disability status may impact their acceptance or rejection as both patients and future parents. The first section of the article offers insight on how physicians provide fertility services and make decisions based on a person’s disability. In part two, Mutcherson examines discrimination with the context of fertility and interest in procreation, rather than “parenting one’s biological children or in seeking to adopting children.” The third section evaluates the difficulties that a disabled person may face when trying to prove the “unlawful discrimination under the American Disabilities Act (ADA). Specifically, in this section, she examines a woman that is HIV-positive and a quadriplegic. In the fourth section, she discusses the “theoretical complications of risks that could warrant denying access to fertility care to women living with HIV or quadriplegia.” She also examines the direct and indirect risks to the patient or the fetus. Essentially, Mutcherson demonstrates that if a person can “establish that she meets the threshold evaluation of her fitness to participate in fertility treatment” then she should not be limited to the power of the ADA nor the denial of the fertility providers. Mutcherson concludes that if assisted reproductive technology can expand reproductive and fertility services for these women, it would be a disservice to them and their children to “deny them the opportunity of biological parenthood” that is often given to many others.


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Legislation/policy   Disability justice   Assisted reproductive technology   Adoption