Genetic Testing of Embryos in vitro – Legal Considerations with Regard to the Status of Early Human Embryos in European Law

Ralf Müller-Terpitz


Due to legal developments in Germany, the subsequent essay deals with the issue of genetic testing of embryos in vitro via the technique of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). It starts by describing the recent diagnostic possibilities offered by this technique and reports on recent legal changes at national level in Germany regarding the admissibility of genetic testing of early embryos in vitro. The essay then analyses the relevant legal framework from a European perspective by taking into consideration the law of the Council of Europe and the law of the European Union. With respect to regional European human rights law, the essay takes a closer look at the legal treatment of PGD under the Biomedicine Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. Regarding the legal situation in EU law, it analyses the legislative competences of the European Union in the field of reproductive medicine in general and genetic testing of embryos in particular as well as the question as to which restrictions can be derived from the Charter of Fundamental Rights and from the fundamental freedom to provide services.


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