The future has arrived: the constitutional nature of a right of access to reproductive and genetic technologies

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Author: Maria Posadkova

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2022-6-72-94

Keywords: human rights; somatic rights; reproductive rights; evolution of law; dignity of the individual; the right to respect for private and family life; freedom of discretion of the state; medical law, the right to health protection and medical care; balance of interests; the European Court of Human Rights


The evolution of human rights is inextricably linked to the development of public institutions formed under the influence of changing reality. Thanks to research in the field of reproduction and genetics, significant advances have been made in the field of human reproductive and genetic health, namely, the introduction of diagnostic studies of the fetus (embryo) both in the womb and in vitro by in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. The study focuses on an analysis of constitutional and legal issues of the use of preimplantation and prenatal diagnoses of the embryo (fetus) using assisted reproductive technologies for the purpose of prevention of the birth of children with genetic (inherited) mutations, and, in cases where this is not possible, for early preparation and adaptation by these children’s biological parents to a severe life-threatening diagnosis for their child, both in furtherance of the child’s well-being and for assistance to the parents. The article proposes an expansion of the system of constitutional human rights by recognizing an independent subjective reproductive right in the use of auxiliary and genetic engineering technologies. The author hypothesizes about the complex nature of this right, taking into account its direct connection with “traditional” constitutional rights, namely, the dignity of the individual; the right to respect for private life; the right to health protection and medical care; and the right to protection of childhood, motherhood and fatherhood. In addition, the main, distinctive characteristics of this reproductive right are analyzed, including consideration of the reproductive and genetic well-being of the mother and the unborn child as special objects of protection, and consideration the role of public authorities in organizing access to high-tech means of reproductive genetics as a prerequisite for the existence of the right in each particular state. The European Court of Human Rights’ procedure for implementing this independent right in its practice is also considered. The author categorizes the main judicial decisions on this issue arising in disputes about access to reproductive law using assisted and reproductive technologies and in disputes over compensation for damage for providing false information about the genetic characteristics of the fetus (embryo).

About the author: Maria Posadkova – Ph.D. Student, Researcher, Scientific and Educational Laboratory of International Justice, Higher School of Economics; Lecturer, Department of Medical Law, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Posadkova M. (2022) Budushchee uzhe zdes’: o konstitutsionnoy prirode reproduktivnogo prava na rozhdenie rebyonka s ispol’zovaniem vspomogatel’nykh tekhnologiy [The future has arrived: the constitutional nature of a right of access to reproductive and genetic technologies]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 31, no. 6, pp. 72–94. (In Russian).


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