Discussion paper: A Children’s Rights Approach to Assisted Reproduction

The rapid advance and use of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) has an ever-increasing range of implications for children and their human rights. CRIN’s new discussion paper on the issue offers an initial look at ARTs from a children’s rights perspective.  

Our research found that States have yet to settle the complex ethical questions involved in assisted reproduction and have tended towards a singular focus on the rights of adults to found a family, overlooking the rights of children. In recent years, some courts have begun to recognise the best interests of children as the most vulnerable party, but national approaches vary widely.

This paper explores three groups of ARTs, each of which has a bearing on the rights of children between birth and age 18:

  • Prenatal screening for genetic health (including the testing of embryos carried out as part of in-vitro fertilisation, IVF);

  • Third-party reproduction (surrogacy and gamete donation); and

  • Cryopreservation (freezing gametes for later use).

With this paper, CRIN wants to encourage discussion on the impact of assisted reproduction on the rights of children. With jurisprudence and legislation on the issue still underdeveloped, it offers an opportunity to ensure that children’s rights are built into standards from the outset, avoiding legal advocacy later, in a field that is set to grow and develop rapidly as the 21st century progresses.

This paper is an initial contribution and feedback is welcomed. Please send your comments to [email protected]

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