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The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008) and the tenacity of the sexual family form

McCandless, Julie and Sheldon, Sally (2010) The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008) and the tenacity of the sexual family form. Modern Law Review, 73 (2). pp. 175-207. ISSN 0026-7961

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1468-2230.2010.00790.x


The new parenthood provisions set out in Part 2 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 have been attacked as dangerous and radical, offering a ‘lego-kit model of family life’ and a ‘magical mystery tour’ in how legal fatherhood is to be determined. In this paper, we explain what is innovative about these new provisions but also explore what they owe to deep-rooted traditional assumptions about the family. Relying both on published documentation relating to this reform process and a small number of key actor interviews, we trace the imprint of what fineman has described as the ‘sexual family’ model on the provisions. We conclude that the way that parenthood is framed within the legislation relies on a number of important normative assumptions which received very little scrutiny in this process. We also highlight a number of tensions within this framing which, we suggest, may create future problems for judicial determination.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2010 The Modern Law Review Limited
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Q Science > QM Human anatomy
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2010 12:54
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2021 23:09

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