Is the human embryo legally defined and protected? Causes and consequences

Vol. 58 No. 2, 2017


Maria Aluas, Claudia Diana Gherman, Cristiana Iulia Dumitrescu

Everyone s right to life shall be protected by law, states the article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights (1950). This article guarantees the protection of life of all persons. The human embryo, however, does not seem to be under the protection of this article, or, at least not always. The human embryo does not have a nature clearly defined and it is not considered always as person. The law protects only two categories by its ordinary regulations: things and persons. Our main objective is to find out if the human embryo is or not protected, according to the legal framework in Romania. The purpose of the paper is: (1) to familiarize professionals with current debate on the status of the human embryo; (2) to provide main legal standards and regulations concerning this specific area with examples from case reports; (3) to summarize causes and consequences of the human embryo legal interpretations. Our conclusion is that the human embryo is not protected by the law in force at this moment, with very few exceptions. It depends, most of time, on the parent s wishes. From ethical point of view, we are in front of an open and long debate. The law should regulate and define the human embryo in a clear way. Legal standards are extremely necessary for all involved, in the context of the development of the medicine. Embryo s issues have profound implications for medical practice.

Corresponding author: Claudia Diana Gherman, Associate Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:

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