|Abstract: ||Šio darbo pagrindinis tikslas buvo nustatyti, ar sutuoktis turi teisę paimti kito, jau mirusio sutuoktinio lytines ląsteles ir panaudoti jas savo pagalbiniam apvaisinimui, pateikiant ir analizuojant probleminius pagalbinio apvaisinimo, panaudojant mirusio asmens lytines ląsteles, aspektus. Atsakant į iškeltą darbo tikslą buvo nagrinėjama Lietuvos teisės aktai, reglamentuojantys pagalbinį apvaisinimą. Apžvelgiami Europos sąjungos teisės aktai reglamentuojantys lytinių ląstelių donorystę, taip pat užsienio šalių teisės aktai reglamentuojantys pagalbinį apvaisinimą ir teismų praktika.
Vadovaujantis Lietuvos ir užsienio šalių mokslinės literatūros šaltiniais, atlikto tyrimo analize, darbe yra atskleidžiama pagalbinio apvaisinimo, panaudojant mirusio asmens lytines ląsteles, teigiami ir neigiami aspektai taip pat būsimo vaiko interesų pirmumo klausimas pagalbinio apvaisinimo kontekste. Kalbant pagalbinio apvaisinimo kontekstu neturėtų būti besąlygiškai sutinkama su asmens pageidavimu panaudoti mirusio sutuoktinio lytines ląsteles, savo pagalbiniam apvaisinimui. Vertinant iš moralinės pusės yra svarbu nustatyti, asmenų norinčių pasinaudoti tokia teise, vertinimo apribojimus. Nustatyti reikalavimai, turi būti gerai apgalvoti norint pasinaudoti tokia teisia. Turi būti įvertinta būsimo vaiko ir tėvų interesai, taip pat galimas vaiko neigiamas poveikis.
Šiame darbe iškelta hipotezė pasitvirtino, sutuoktinis turėtų turėti teisę paimti kito, jau mirusio, sutuoktinio lytines ląsteles ir panaudoti savo pagalbiniam apvaisinimui. Nes pagal dabar galiojantį Lietuvos Respublikos Pagalbinio apvaisinimo įstatymą, tai draudžiama. Teisė turėti šeimą yra pripažįstama pamatinia žmogaus teise, tai pripažinta tiek tarptautiniuose, tiek nacionaliniuose teisės aktuose, tačiau net ir ne atsižvelgiant į aplinkybes kuriomis vaikas atsirado šeimoje svarbu užtikrinti vaiko ir būsimų jo tėvų interesus.|
The principal aim of this work was to determine if a spouse has the right to take a deceased spouse’s sex cells and use them for assisted fertilization. For this purpose, we presented and analyzed problematic aspects of assisted fertilization using a deceased person’s sex cells. To reach the set aim, we analyzed legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania on assisted fertilization, reviewed legal acts of the European Union on sex cell donation, foreign legal acts regulating assisted fertilization, and court practice. Based on the analysis of Lithuanian and foreign scientific literature and the conducted research, we revealed the positive and negative aspects of assisted fertilization with a deceased donor’s sex cells as well as the issue of the priority of the future child’s interests in the context of assisted fertilization.
Legalization of postmortem sex cell donation for assisted fertilization is a relevant issue in every constitutional state. Various countries have differing approaches to postmortem sex cell donation, and this is the object of much ethical and legal discussion. In some countries, like Great Britain, Belgium, India and some states of the US, the law permits harvesting sex cells of a deceased person, while in other countries, such as Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, and some states of Australia, this practice is prohibited. In Lithuania, the Law on Assisted Fertilization prohibits postmortem sex cell donation except for cases where the advance consent of the deceased person is available for the use of his or her sex cells for a concrete person. Sex cells may be obtained only with the donor’s written informed consent. Clause 8.2 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Assisted Fertilization prohibits harvesting and (or) use of a deceased person’s sex cells. If a person whose sex cells are stored in a cell bank dies, the sex cells are destroyed. A deceased person’s sex cells may be used for the assisted fertilization of a concrete person if the donor had granted consent for such use of the cells prior to his or her death.
The legal regulation of assisted fertilization in European countries differs and is influenced by cultural, religious, and other differences between the countries. The European Union (EU) does not legally regulate assisted fertilization because of the aforementioned differences between European countries. In the EU and its member stated, questions of reproductive health are mostly analyzed from a specific, medical perspective. The EU encourages the development of a single system for ensuring high standards for the quality and safety of supply, examination, processing, storage, and distribution of human cells and tissues throughout the EU. The member states are encouraged to facilitate the exchange of human cells and tissues for patients who need such treatment on the yearly basis. For this reason, the EU, through Community regulations, tries to ensure similar quality and the same safety of human cells and tissues irrespectively of the location of their use.
The rapid development of medicine results in the emergence of an increasing number of opinions concerning postmortem sex cell donation. When the cells have already been harvested before the death of one of the spouses and are stored in a cell bank, the answer to the question of whether the surviving spouse can use those cells is clear. The fact that a person decided to store his or her sex cells suggests that he or she intended to use those cells for assisted fertilization in the future. More discussions arise when the surviving spouse seeks to obtain the deceased spouse’s sex cells for assisted fertilization with the aim of having offspring in the absence of the donor’s written consent. Such situation may occur if the spouse or partner dies unexpectedly due to an accident or an acute illness. In such situations, appropriate use of the deceased spouse’s sex cells by the surviving spouse cannot be ensured, and thus the decision should be well-considered and stable. Taking into account the psychological condition of the deceased person’s family is important, as in such situation, they may make an unadvised decision.
There is no unified global regulation of the harvesting or use of female or male sex cells. The donation of male sex cells is simpler and does not require any significant medical intervention. Freezing of male sex cells became available back in 1949. Meanwhile, harvesting and preservation of female sex cells is a relatively new and unexplored area, but biotechnologies have made this procedure available. It was first performed in 1970.
Pre-implantation genetic diagnostics is another important aspect in assisted fertilization. Pre-implantation genetic diagnostics may have both positive and negative aspects. The embryo’s examination prior to the transfer to the uterus may help detect genetic diseases (such as Down’s syndrome, hemophilia, etc.), yet it may also be applied for non-medical purposes, such as the determination of the child’s sex and other characteristics, which violates the principles of ethics.
The concept of a family is not well-defined in legislation, and there are a number of various definitions of a family member and other terms in the regulation of different legal relationships. The rapid development of the society causes changes in the concept of the family in legislation because the law has to react to changes in the society. Every person has the right to have a family and children. The introduction of new biotechnologies is changing the model of a family. Even though both national and international legal acts defend the right to a family, the right to use a deceased spouse’s sex cells has to be carefully evaluated, including the assessment of all its possible positive and negative aspects.
The principle of the priority of a child’s interests was first formulated on the international scale in 1959 in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. In 1989, it was included in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child where it became one of the main legal principles of the Convention. The principle of the priority of a child’s interests is an imperative international norm of the human rights. Assisted fertilization is related to the interests of the child conceived via this method. A child in a family is a creation of two people, yet in case of children conceived via assisted fertilization after the demise of one of the parents, the main negative aspect that may affect the child’s well-being is the fact that that the child is born in a family with only one of the parents alive. This may cause the child to be perceived in the society as “different”. In the majority of countries that allow assisted fertilization using a deceased donor’s sex cells, parenthood of a child conceived via this method may be recognized if the following requirements are met: a written consent of the deceased parent, and a registered marriage. The court of law always demands proof that the wish to conceive via such method was mutual.
The hypothesis raised in this work was confirmed: a spouse has the right to use a deceased spouse’s sex cells for assisted fertilization. The right to have a family is recognized as the basic human right both in national and international legal acts, but the child’s and the future parents’ interests have to be ensured irrespective of the mode in which the child was conceived.