Commutative Justice and Embryo “Adoption.” In Chapter 4 of the textbook, the author examines commutative justice as arising from contractual relationships – a specific contract among particular parties or a broader social contract on which a community or nation is based. He also discusses how the interpretation or enforceability of a specific contract may be influenced by the principles and values that are part of the broader social contract.
At the end of 2012, more than 600,000 frozen embryos are being maintained in cryopreservation storage facilities in the United States. Some of them are the subject of agreements in which one party transfers one or more embryos to another party for implantation. Such agreements may be called “Embryo Adoption Agreements,” although there is controversy over the use of the term adoption since the legal status of an embryo is different from that of a living child. In recent years, there have been a number of legal disputes arising from these agreements. Cynthia Marietta describes one of these disputes, McLaughlin v. Lambert, in her article, Frozen embryo litigation spotlights pressing questions: What is the legal status of an embryo and can it be adopted?