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Families Under Construction: Parentage, Adoption, and Assisted Reproduction, Second Edition

  • Susan Frelich Appleton
  • D. Kelly Weisberg
Series / Aspen Coursebook Series
Teaching Materials

This book is designed for law school seminars and courses, including first-year electives, as well as advanced undergraduate courses in legal studies or other departments. Families Under Construction: Parentage, Adoption, and Assisted Reproduction, Second Edition, provides an in-depth exploration of the fascinating and controversial issues emerging out of biotechnology and society’s changing understanding of family identity. The authors combine solid treatment of the law and carefully crafted additional content to provoke inquiry and fuel class discussion, using a multidisciplinary presentation of legal authorities, policy perspectives, critical analysis, and cultural contexts. Coverage includes the impact of marriage equality, increasing departures from traditional family arrangements, and modern approaches to adoption, as well as infertility treatments, collaborative reproductive arrangements, and reproductive tourism.

New to the Second Edition:

  • A new Part I on parentage, parental responsibilities, and parental authority, tracing the evolution from traditional doctrine to contemporary approaches and emphasizing the policy of keeping dependency private
  • The addition of principal cases on wrongful adoption, challenges to sealed adoption records, and intercountry adoption
  • Restructured chapters on assisted reproduction reflecting consequential changes in the legal landscape

Professors and students will benefit from:

  • Thorough coverage of significant cases, statutes, and regulations, including law reform efforts and recognition of law’s silence on some topics
  • Opportunities for comparative analysis of law and policy, from “then” to “now” and among various states and nations, with examination of jurisdiction, choice of law, and enforcement
  • An approach that questions core concepts, such as parentage, by highlighting the role of the state in the construction of family and the influence of assumptions about gender, race, sexualities, marriage, class, and dependency
  • Inclusive materials, such as narratives as well as summaries of popular books and films, which explore the interaction of law and life
  • Consideration of professional responsibility, including the often challenging role of lawyers in adoptions and reproductive collaborations
  • A mix of classic and leading-edge cases
  • Notes and Questions that provide background and illuminate salient themes
  • Thought-provoking Problems that prompt consideration of new issues
  • Inserts presenting “Depictions in Popular Culture” of the situations at the center of the cases
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About the authors
Susan Frelich Appleton
Professor of Law
Washington University in St. Louis

Susan Frelich Appleton, the Lemma Barkeloo & Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law, is a nationally known expert in family law. Her research, scholarship, and teaching address such legal issues as adoption, reproductive justice, parentage, gender, and sexualities. Co-author of six editions of a family law casebook, Professor Appleton most recently published a new edition of a casebook entitled emFamilies Under Construction: Parentage, Adoption and Assisted Reproductionem (2d ed. 2021).& She has published extensively on family law matters and feminist legal theory in law reviews and scholarly collections. In 2021, she received the inaugural award for outstanding contributions and achievements in the field from the AALS Section on Family & Juvenile Law, and in 2018, she received a Dukeminier Award from UCLA’s Williams Institute, which recognizes the best publications on sexual orientation and gender identity law. An active member of the American Law Institute (ALI), she held the position of Secretary of the Institute (2004-13), has served on its Council (since 1994), and participates as an Adviser on several ALI projects, including the revision of the Model Penal Code’s provisions on sexual assault and the Restatement of the Law of Children and the Law. She has lectured and presented papers across the U.S. and abroad, including in Rome, Berlin, Prague, Padua, Herzliya (Israel), and Shanghai. Professor Appleton has received Washington University’s Distinguished Faculty Award and the law school’s Triennial Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award. At the law school, she served as vice dean (2013-14) and associate dean of faculty (1998-2003). In 2010-12, she served as Washington University’s first Ombuds, facilitating the informal resolution or management of faculty-related conflicts or concerns on the Danforth Campus. Before becoming a law professor, she clerked for law school alumnus, the Hon. William H. Webster, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.& &

D. Kelly Weisberg
Professor of Law
University of California, Hastings

Professor of Law at University of California, Hastings, D. Kelly Weisberg is a lawyer and sociologist. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University, from which she also earned a Ph.D. in sociology in 1976. She received her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley in 1979, where she was a member of the California Law Review. Before joining the Hastings faculty in 1982, she worked at the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, where she conducted legal research on the rights of children during the International Year of the Child. She has taught at Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, Boston University, and Hebrew University, Jerusalem (where she was a Lady Davis Fellow). For the Spring semester 2010, she holds the Hurst Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Her research interests focus on issues in family law and children and the law. She has participated in federally-funded studies of juvenile parole, juvenile prostitution, family violence, and sexual exploitation of children. She served as a consultant for the American Bar Association, Women on Law Faculties Study, and for the American Justice Institute, National Juvenile Justice Assessment Center, for a study of child abuse. She testified before the Senate Subcommittee of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, on the relationship between runaway behavior and juvenile prostitution. She teaches Family Law, Children and the Law, and Wills and Trusts. She is the author of several law review articles and books, including emChild, Family, State: Cases and Materials on Children and the Lawem (co-authored with Robert H. Mnookin) (Aspen Publishers, 5th ed. 2005); emAdoption and Assisted Reproduction: Families Under Constructionem (co-authored with Susan F. Appleton)(Aspen Publishers, 2009); emThe Birth of Surrogacy in Israelem (University Press of Florida, 2005); emModern Family Law: Cases and Materialsem (co-authored with Susan F. Appleton) (Aspen Publishers, 4th ed. 2009); and emApplications of Feminist Legal Theory to Women's Livesem (Temple University Press, 1996).

Product Information
Second Edition
Publication date
Copyright Year
Family Law, Elective
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