wrongful life


Summary: In civil law a cause of action which alleges that a defendant has wrongfully caused a child to be born.

Top Publications

  1. Dimopoulos P, Bagaric M. The moral status of wrongful life claims. Common Law World Rev. 2003;32:35-64 pubmed
    A wrongful life action is a claim brought by a disabled child who asserts that but for a physician's negligence he or she would not have been born, thereby being spared the suffering of life...
  2. Bird S. Contraception failure and wrongful birth claims. Aust Fam Physician. 2002;31:935-6 pubmed
    ..This article outlines some risk management strategies for general practitioners to minimise the possibility of a claim arising from a failure of contraception involving the use of the long acting contraceptive implant, Implanon. ..
  3. McMahan J. Causing disabled people to exist and causing people to be disabled. Ethics. 2005;116:77-99 pubmed
  4. Archard D. Wrongful life. Philosophy. 2004;79:403-20 pubmed
  5. Beshara N. Wrongful life: an issue of first impression for the Supreme Court of South Carolina--Willis v. Wu. J Law Med Ethics. 2005;33:616-7 pubmed
  6. Carey K. Wrongful life and wrongful birth: legal aspects of failed genetic testing in oocyte donation. Penn Bioeth J. 2005;1:1-4 pubmed
    ..How should the law respond to potential wrongful birth and wrongful life suits resulting from failed genetic testing, if the child in question was conceived using a donor egg? Under ..
  7. Sakaihara M. Wrongful birth claim in Japan. Med Sci Law. 2002;42:258-60 pubmed
    ..We compare the lawful nature of wrongful birth claims in Japan with those in the United States and the United Kingdom...
  8. Stolker C. [Appropriate damages due to 'wrongful life']. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2007;151:240 pubmed
    ..With its thorough and meticulous method of axiomatisation the Supreme Court has found the correct balance between the natural emotions of those concerned and the financial interests that were at issue. ..
  9. Lippman H. Healthy baby--hefty award? If a current trend continues, doctors could be forced to pay the cost of raising a healthy child whose conception they failed to prevent. Med Econ. 2003;80:83-6, 89 pubmed

More Information


  1. Neville W, Lokuge B. Wrongful life claims: dignity, disability and "a line in the sand". Med J Aust. 2006;185:558-60 pubmed
  2. Tobin R. Wrongful birth in New Zealand. J Law Med. 2005;12:294-304 pubmed
    ..The author argues that this should continue to be the case, and that, as a result, New Zealand courts will have to make the same policy decisions in this area as those made by other Commonwealth courts. ..
  3. Mair J. Damages claim for wrongful birth due to a systems failure. Health Inf Manag. 2012;41:36-40 pubmed
    ..This process is particularly vital when a patient is undergoing a surgical procedure which will be performed under anaesthesia. Nevertheless, systems failures continue to occur resulting in claims for damages by affected patients. ..
  4. Strauss R. Beyond easy answers: prenatal diagnosis and counseling during pregnancy. Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2002;39:164-8 pubmed
    ..Prenatal diagnostic technologies raise complex ethical, family, policy, and legal issues that have broad implications for the lives of children born with special health care needs, including children with cleft lip and palate. ..
  5. Klein R, Mahoney M. Medical legal issues in prenatal diagnosis. Clin Perinatol. 2007;34:287-97, vi pubmed
    ..Successful suits for "wrongful birth," brought by parents of an abnormal child, are common in many United States jurisdictions, but suits for "wrongful life," brought on behalf of the child, have usually been denied.
  6. Hendriks A. Wrongful suits? Suing in the name of Terri Schiavo and Kelly Molenaar. Eur J Health Law. 2005;12:97-102 pubmed
  7. Sheldon T. Dutch Supreme Court backs damages for child for having been born. BMJ. 2005;330:747 pubmed
  8. Bottis M. Wrongful birth and wrongful life actions. Eur J Health Law. 2004;11:55-9 pubmed
  9. Morris A, Saintier S. To be or not to be: is that the question? Wrongful life and misconceptions. Med Law Rev. 2003;11:167-93 pubmed
  10. de Lacey S, Norman R. What should we do with donated embryos that may be genetically affected?. Hum Reprod. 2004;19:1065-8 pubmed
    ..The ethical and legal issues arising from genetic screening in embryo donation are discussed in relation to two recent cases where embryos with uncertain genetic health were offered for donation. ..
  11. Rakowski E. Who should pay for bad genes?. Calif Law Rev. 2002;90:1345-414 pubmed
    ..Acting on behalf of the parental insurance pool, the state may nonetheless adopt a variety of measures to help potential parents avoid giving birth to such children, which one can assume virtually all would prefer. ..
  12. Burns T. When life is an injury: an economic approach to wrongful life lawsuits. Duke Law J. 2003;52:807-39 pubmed
  13. Mason J. Wrongful life: the problem of causation. Med Law Int. 2004;6:149-61 pubmed
    The paper considers the status of the wrongful life action particularly in the light of the recent acceptance of such actions in continental Europe...
  14. Hope T, McMillan J. Physicians' duties and the non-identity problem. Am J Bioeth. 2012;12:21-9 pubmed publisher
    ..However, in cases where different (identity-altering) interventions result in different people having a better or worse life, physicians should normally respect patient choice. ..
  15. Palmer L. Genetic health and eugenics precedents: a voice of caution. Fla State Univ Law Rev. 2003;30:237-64 pubmed
  16. Kapterian G. Harriton, Waller And Australian negligence law: is there a place for wrongful life?. J Law Med. 2006;13:336-51 pubmed
    ..the decision by the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Harriton and Waller, the controversial action for wrongful life has been thrown back into the public spotlight...
  17. Berlin L. Wrongful life. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2003;181:1181-8 pubmed
  18. Howlett M, Avard D, Knoppers B. Physicians and genetic malpractice. Med Law. 2002;21:661-80 pubmed
    ..Physicians who lack genetic literacy may find themselves the targets of lawsuits for wrongful birth and wrongful life. Wrongful birth and wrongful life claims (in the context of genetics) both assert that but for the physician's ..
  19. Bostrom B. Grubbs v. Barbourville Family Health Center. Issues Law Med. 2003;19:175-8 pubmed
  20. Callus T. "Wrongful life" a la francaise. Med Law Int. 2001;5:117-25 pubmed
    ..decision of the French supreme court has recognised what has been termed in the common law system, a "wrongful life" action...
  21. Sharman R. Wrongful life actions: the legal and ethical hurdles. J Law Med. 2001;9:233-7 pubmed
    This article discusses the various legal and ethical issues arising out of the cause of action for wrongful life. This action involves a claim by a child that but for the negligence of the doctor, hospital or other medical institution, ..
  22. Muriithi P. Does the rejection of wrongful life claims rely on a conceptual error?. J Med Ethics. 2011;37:433-6 pubmed publisher
    There are four major arguments raised against wrongful life claims: first, that it is impossible to establish harm in wrongful life claims; second, that wrongful life claims are illogical or incoherent; third, that life is inviolable and ..
  23. DiSilvestro R. Reproductive autonomy, the non-identity problem, and the non-person problem. Bioethics. 2009;23:59-67 pubmed publisher
    ..Any solution to the Non-Identity Problem that focuses on wronging rather than harming should incorporate this sort of solution to the Non-Person Problem. ..
  24. Bennett R. The fallacy of the Principle of Procreative Beneficence. Bioethics. 2009;23:265-73 pubmed publisher
  25. Harvey M. Reproductive autonomy rights and genetic disenhancement: sidestepping the argument from backhanded benefit. J Appl Philos. 2004;21:125-40 pubmed
  26. Faunce T, Jefferys S. Abandoning the common law: medical negligence, genetic tests and wrongful life in the Australian High Court. J Law Med. 2007;14:469-77 pubmed
    ..fetal genetic tests as part of the professional standard of care, the High Court, by barring so-called "wrongful life" (better termed "wrongful suffering") claims, may have created a partial immunity from suit for ..
  27. Sheldon T. Court awards damages to disabled child for having been born. BMJ. 2003;326:784 pubmed
  28. Green R. Does the non-identity problem block a class of arguments against cloning?. Int J Appl Philos. 2004;18:95-101 pubmed
    ..I conclude (roughly) that the non-identity problem does serve to block this class of argument against cloning. ..
  29. Liao S. Are 'ex ante' enhancements always permissible?. Am J Bioeth. 2005;5:23-5; discussion W4-9 pubmed
  30. Strong C. Harming by conceiving: a review of misconceptions and a new analysis. J Med Philos. 2005;30:491-516 pubmed
    ..This paper examines the main rebuttals that have been made to the No Harm Argument and argues that none of them is successful. ..
  31. Intromasso C. Reproductive self-determination in the Third Circuit: the statutory proscription of wrongful birth and wrongful life claims as an unconstitutional violation of Planned Parenthood v. Casey's undue burden standard. Women's Rights Law Report. 2003;24:101-20 pubmed
  32. Wasserman D. The nonidentity problem, disability, and the role morality of prospective parents. Ethics. 2005;116:132-52 pubmed
  33. Daly B. Wrongful birth, wrongful conception, and the Irish Constitution. Eur J Health Law. 2005;12:57-76 pubmed
  34. Dyer C. Disabled mother whose sterilisation failed cannot claim the extra costs of bringing up a child. BMJ. 2003;327:950 pubmed
  35. Roth R. Congenital disabilities and the law. Clin Perinatol. 2007;34:263-73, v-vi pubmed
    ..the controversial claims for "wrongful conception," "wrongful birth," and "wrongful life." These claims arise from negligence in a failed vasectomy/tubal ligation resulting in an unwanted ..
  36. Michaud J. [Bioethical procedure: judicial experience, working of committees]. J Int Bioethique. 2006;17:61-8, 161 pubmed
    ..By using it, it is no longer a question exclusively of ethics, but of ethics applied to life sciences. From this angle it is not unjustified to accept some procedure. We shall see that in France there has been no reluctance to do this. ..
  37. Savulescu J, Hemsley M, Newson A, Foddy B. Behavioural genetics: why eugenic selection is preferable to enhancement. J Appl Philos. 2006;23:157-71 pubmed
    ..Moreover, other moral problems in avoiding having children with a tendency to criminal behaviour, such as the prospect of social discrimination, can also be overcome. ..
  38. Ackmann E. Prenatal testing gone awry: the birth of a conflict of ethics and liability. Indiana Health Law Rev. 2005;2:199-224 pubmed
  39. Dickens B, Cook R. Multiple pregnancy: legal and ethical issues. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2008;103:270-4 pubmed publisher
    ..More challenging are impaired children's claims for "wrongful life." These are unlikely to succeed against parents, but courts are ambivalent to claims against healthcare ..
  40. Amagwula T, Chang P, Hossain A, Tyner J, Rivers A, Phelps J. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis: a systematic review of litigation in the face of new technology. Fertil Steril. 2012;98:1277-82 pubmed publisher
    ..Competent laboratory personnel and proper informed consent--with particular care to inform patients of the inherent inaccuracies of PGD--are crucial in helping deter liability. ..
  41. Chervenak F, Chervenak J. Medical legal issues in obstetric ultrasound. Clin Perinatol. 2007;34:299-308, vi pubmed
  42. Capron A. Punishing reproductive choices in the name of liberal genetics. San Diego Law Rev. 2002;39:683-92 pubmed
  43. Pioro M, Mykitiuk R, Nisker J. Wrongful birth litigation and prenatal screening. CMAJ. 2008;179:1027-30 pubmed publisher
  44. Perry R. It's a wonderful life: is it possible to say that a severely disabled child has been harmed by the mere fact of being born?. Cornell Law Rev. 2007;93:329-400 pubmed
    ..Is it possible to say that a severely disabled child has been harmed by the mere fact of being born? Wrongful life claimants answer in the affirmative, whereas Capra's aphorism makes a compelling counter-argument...
  45. Wellman C. The concept of fetal rights. Law Philos. 2002;21:65-93 pubmed
  46. Seubert D, Huang W, Wasserman Hoff R. Medical legal issues in the prevention of prematurity. Clin Perinatol. 2007;34:309-18, vii pubmed
    ..In addition to supporting the patient, these approaches may help the clinician avoid malpractice litigation. ..
  47. Parsons J. Editor's reply. Aust Fam Physician. 2002;31:1063-4 pubmed
  48. Coorey A, Panikabutara P. Cattanach v Melchior. J Law Med. 2006;13:419-30 pubmed
  49. Martin A, Peerzada J. The expressive meaning of enhancement. Am J Bioeth. 2005;5:25-7; discussion W4-9 pubmed
  50. Young R. Cattanach v Melchior (2003) 77 ALJR 1312; [2003] HCA 38. J Law Med. 2003;11:153-61 pubmed
  51. McPhee J, Stewart C. Recent developments. J Bioeth Inq. 2004;1:43-8 pubmed
  52. Schell W. [Parents of a handicapped child received compensation for an omitted abortion]. Kinderkrankenschwester. 2004;23:25-6 pubmed
  53. Leticee N, Moutard M, Moutel G, Ville Y. [Changes in prenatal ultrasound practices after the Perruche decision and Law no. 2002-303 dated 4 March 2002]. Presse Med. 2006;35:1467-74 pubmed
    ..The respondents' intention to take parents' emotions into account suggests they will find a common language to communicate with them. It is nonetheless necessary to organize a nationwide debate about the objectives of fetal ultrasound. ..