Press Releases

Press release by The Iona Institute

Iona Institute welcomes decision by European Court of Human Rights on Assisted Human Reproduction

3rd November, 2011 THE IONA INSTITUTE welcomes today’s ruling by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights that the Austrian law banning the use of donor sperm or eggs for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is not in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. The decision reverses a decision last year by the First Section of the Court.

Reacting to today’s decision, the Director of The Iona Institute, David Quinn, said: “This is a victory for children. It recognises that signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights are entitled to abide by the general principle that children have a right to be raised by their biological parents. It recognises that signatory countries have a right to ban the use of donor sperm or eggs because the use of gametes in this way deliberately severs the link between a child and its biological mother or father, or both”.

He continued: “We hope the Irish Government studies this decision closely because in Ireland the use of donor sperm and eggs is completely unregulated and the right of a child to know and be raised by its biological parents is ignored by much of the Assisted Human Reproduction industry in this country. Indeed, the Irish Government should study the Austrian law in respect of this issue and adopt its central principle.”

Significantly, the Grand Chamber recognised the legitimacy of the Austrian legislature’s conviction “that medically assisted procreation should take place similarly to natural procreation, and in particular that the basic principle of civil law – mater semper certa est  [the mother is always certain] – should be maintained by avoiding the possibility that two persons could claim to be the biological mother of one and the same child and to avoid disputes between a biological and a genetic mother in the wider sense.”


Notes to Editors

1.    The Iona Institute is a pro-marriage, pro-religion organisation.