Human Rights to In Vitro Fertilization – IACtHR decision

Congratulations to Fernando Zegers-Hochschild of the University of Diego Portales in Chile, who collaborated with our Co-Director Bernard M. Dickens and our LL.M. graduate Sandra Dughman-Manzur, on this recently-published article, now online here.

Human Rights to in Vitro Fertilization

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 123 (2013) 86–89.


The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (the Court) has ruled that the Supreme Court of Costa Rica’s judgment in 2000 prohibiting in vitro fertilization (IVF) violated the human right to private and family life, the human right to found and raise a family, and the human right to non-discrimination on grounds of disability, financial means, or gender. The Court’s conclusions of violations contrary to the American Convention on Human Rights followed from its ruling that, under the Convention, in vitro embryos are not “persons” and do not possess a right to life. Accordingly, the prohibition of IVF to protect embryos constituted a disproportionate and unjustifiable denial of infertile individuals’ human rights. The Court distinguished fertilization from conception, since conception—unlike fertilization—depends on an embryo’s implantation in a woman’s body. Under human rights law, legal protection of an embryo “from conception” is inapplicable between its creation by fertilization and completion of its implantation in utero.

Entire article is online here.

Related Resources:
Inter-American Court of Human Rights:  IVF Decision of Nov. 28, 2012
judgment in English -132 pages
English summary by Center for Reproductive Rights:  press release

judgment in Spanish – 116 pages
Official Spanish summary -14 pages
Spanish summary by Mónica Arango et al.

More articles on Ethical and Legal Issues in Reproductive and Sexual Health are online here.

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