The Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (the Oviedo Convention) sets out two principles concerning embryos (Articles 14 and 18). It forbids the use of techniques of medically assisted procreation for the purpose of choosing a future child's sex (except where serious hereditary sex-related disease is to be avoided) and the creation of human embryos for research purposes. It also stipulates that, where the law allows research on embryos, it shall ensure adequate protection of the embryo.
Scientific, technological and medical developments that involve an intervention on an embryo or foetus have not stopped increasing, raising ethical and legal questions. Faced with such developments, it appears important to undertake a deeper reflection on questions relating to the protection of the human embryo and foetus and the use of medically assisted procreation techniques with a view to supplementing the protective provisions set out in the framework of the Convention. To that end, a Working Party have studied the ethical and legal problems linked to the possibilities of intervention on the human embryo and foetus.
The work of the Working Party has particularly focussed on the fundamental questions surrounding the question of the protection of the embryo and foetus in the framework of in vitro fertilisation procedures, as well as the problems raised by preimplantation diagnosis and by recent developments in the research field.
It appears that, while a large number of issues relating to the protection of the embryo in vitro are the subjects of consensus at European level, on certain points there remains a great diversity of opinion that makes it difficult to identify a common approach. In that context, it was considered that a report, making the most of the reflection within the Working Party on the protection of the human embryo in vitro , would be a useful step to advance discussions on an ethical level on these issues.
That report, made public on 19 June 2003, presents briefly and impartially the diverse positions that exist on questions related to the protection of the human embryo in vitro as well as their underlying arguments. It broaches the different questions of principle concerning the protection of the human embryo in vitro that are relevant from the point of view of all the problems touched on in the report. It then deals with the problems raised by in vitro fertilisation, research on the embryo in vitro and preimplantation genetic diagnosis respectively.
High level seminar on “International case-law in bioethics: insight and foresight” Study on “The rights of Children in biomedicine: challenges posed by scientific advances and uncertainties”
In 2017, we will celebrate the 20 anniversary of the Oviedo Convention. On this occasion an international conference will be held on 24-25 October 2017, in Strasbourg, under the auspices of the Czech Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers. The objective of this conference will be namely to...
The study will be used as the basis to analyse existing international legal instruments, assess their relevance to address the challenges identified and, where appropriate, define further action at intergovernmental level. This will contribute to the preparation of the international conference...
Study on the rights of children in biomedicine The study will be used as the basis to analyse existing international legal instruments, assess their relevance to address the challenges identified and, where appropriate, define further action at intergovernmental level. This will contribute to the...
Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine, on the Prohibition of Cloning Human Beings
The protection of the human embryo in vitro - Report by the Working Party on the Protection of the Human Embryo and Fetus
Защита эмбриона человека in vitro - Доклад Рабочей группы по защите эмбриона и плода человека
Questionnaire on access to medically assisted procreation (MAP) and on right to know about their origin - Replies by the member States to the