News: Woman alleges breach of human rights by Romanian clinic
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against a woman who claimed that a fertility clinic in Romaniahad breached her rights under Article 8 of the European Convention.
In the case of Knecht vs Romania, the woman had store embryos at a fertility clinic in the country. Following a criminal investigation at the clinic, the embryos were moved to theInstitute ofForensic Medicine, a state facility which had no licence to act as a genetic bank. The woman had therefore lost access to her embryos and alleged that this meant her right to be a parent under Article 8 had been breached. She insisted that her consent had not been sought and she had not been given the opportunity to select a destination for the embryos.
Article 8 of the Convention covers the right to respect for “private and family life”, stating:
“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
Nevertheless the Court against the woman, saying it had not been demonstrated that her Article 8 rights had been breached.
Earlier in the year, the Court had ruled in favour of the plaintiff in the case of Costa and Pavan v Italy. This concerned an Italian couple, both carriers of cystic fibrosis but without symptoms. They wished to avoid passing the condition on to future children via the screening of embryos before implantation in the mother, but were unable to do so under Italian law. The Court agreed that their Article 8 rights were interfered with to a ‘disproportionate’ degree.
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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