Disappearing women, vanishing ladies and property in embryos

International Journal of Law and the Biosciences 4:1-6 (2017)
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Guidelines on embryo storage prioritise 'respect for the embryo' above the wishes of the women whose labour and tissue have gone into creating the embryo in the first place, effectively making women and the female body disappear. In this article I draw a parallel between this phenomenon relating to embryo storage and other instances of a similar phenomenon that I have called 'the lady vanishes', particularly in stem cell and 'mitochondrial transfer' research. I suggest that a modified property regime could protect women's interests in embryo storage, making a parallel with the Yearworth case, in which it was recognised that men had limited but actionable interests in their stored sperm..

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Donna Dickenson
Birkbeck, University of London


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