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Europe rights court rules no implanting of frozen embryos without consent

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] in Strasbourg ruled Tuesday that a British woman could not have frozen embryos conceived with a former partner implanted without his consent. Natallie Evans and Howard Johnston entered an IVF program in 2001 and Johnson agreed to the implantation of the embryos, but later withdrew his consent after the breakup of the couple. Evan appealed to the ECHR [JURIST report] in September after two adverse UK court rulings, including a loss in the Court of Appeal [JURIST report] in 2004 citing the terms of the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act [text] under which consent must be given by both prospective parents for in vitro fertilization to be allowed. Evans' lawyers had argued that Evans was entitled to implantation even in the face of Johnson's objection under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights [text], declaring that "Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life...".

The ECHR ruling [text, press release] is consistent with the law governing similar circumstances in other jurisdictions. In the United States, courts have thusfar ruled that each parent has the absolute right to prevent implantation of any frozen embryo under the constitutional right to privacy. BBC News has more.

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