Adjudication without Frontiers
Edited by Horatia Muir Watt, Lucia Bíziková, Agatha Brandão de Oliveira and Diego P. Fernandez Arroyo
The Blood case concerns access to health care and health services, in relation to assisted reproductive technology. It raises ethical and legal questions around the right to bodily integrity, the right to family life and the right to health within the framework of the European Union. Mrs. Diane Blood married her husband, Stephen, in 1991, according to the rites of the Anglican Church. In 1994, Mrs. Blood and her husband commenced plans to start a family. Soon after, Mr. Blood contracted meningitis. In March 1995, while her husband was in a comatose state, Mrs. Blood asked the doctors to take samples of Mr. Blood’s sperm. After his death, Mrs. Blood commenced a legal battle to use these samples, entrusted in the care of the Infertility Research Trust (IRT), so as to bear her late husband’s child. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 prohibited the storage or use of gametes without the clear written consent of the gamete provider. In the case at hand, Mr. Blood had never signed this document. As a result, the authorities (HFEA) could not allow Mrs. Blood to undergo assisted reproductive treatment in the United Kingdom. The question, therefore, was whether the HFEA would authorise the release of the sperm abroad for treatment in another EU country. Mrs. Blood requested that the sperm be exported to Belgium, where she could obtain treatment under Belgian law. Nevertheless, the authorization was not granted. In response, Mrs. Blood filed an application for judicial review.
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