A critical analysis of the different ways in which the law can recognise and protect relationships between adults and children in postmodern societies which are characterised by increasingly diverse family configurations. The essay focuses of six fundamental questions: - How does the law deal with the changes occurring in what is still referred to as the ‘traditional’ family, for example anonymous childbirth, paternity disputes and shared custody? - How does the law recognise and protect families conceived with the help of assisted reproduction techniques, such as IVF, surrogacy, anonymous or non-anonymous gamete donation? - How does the law recognise and protect families bound by de facto social or emotional ties, particularly in the context of step-parents and stepchildren or foster families? - Which relationships between adults and children should be recognised and protected by law? Should there be restrictions based on couple status, gender or number? - If relationships between adults and children should be protected, which legal tools should be used: legal rules, judicial discretion or contractual freedom? - Which common analytical framework could be used to understand – and face – the legal challenges raised by the transformations of family relationships?
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