Global Private International Law
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Global Private International Law

Adjudication without Frontiers

Edited by Horatia Muir Watt, Lucia Bíziková, Agatha Brandão de Oliveira and Diego P. Fernandez Arroyo

Providing a unique and clearly structured tool, this book presents an authoritative collection of carefully selected global case studies. Some of these are considered global due to their internationally relevant subject matter, whilst others demonstrate the blurring of traditional legal categories in an age of accelerated cross-border movement. The study of the selected cases in their political, cultural, social and economic contexts sheds light on the contemporary transformation of law through its encounter with conflicting forms of normativity and the multiplication of potential fora.
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Chapter 25: Blind spots (persons and family): Blood

Elsa Supiot and Michael Wells-Greco


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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