|Abstract: ||Magistro baigiamajame darbe siekiama atsakyti į klausimą, ar santuokos nutraukimo metu sutuoktinė gali prisiteisti saugomus nepanaudotus embrionus ir panaudoti juos savo pagalbiniam apvaisinimui? Tyrimo objektas – sutuoktinės teisės prisiteisti nepanaudotus embrionus teisinis reguliavimas ir praktinis taikymas, embrionų apsaugos doktrina. Tikslui pasiekti keliami tokie uždaviniai: atskleisti embriono teisinio statuso problematiką; išanalizuoti, kaip užsienio valstybėse sprendžiama situacija, kada sutuoktinė (is) siekia prisiteisti saugomus nepanaudotus embrionus apvaisinimui; įvertinti galimybes Lietuvoje sutuoktiniams prisiteisti saugomus nepanaudotus embrionus. Tyrimo hipotezė, kurią bus bandoma įrodyti ar paneigti tyrimo rezultatais: Priėmus Pagalbinio apvaisinimo įstatymą, Lietuvoje atsirado hipotetinės galimybės sutuoktinei prisiteisti saugomus nepanaudotus embrionus savo pagalbiniam apvaisinimui. Tyrime taikyti dokumentų analizės, lyginamasis, sisteminis, teleologinis metodai.
Bendrai formuluojamas pagrindinis teiginys – kuo „stipresnis” embriono teisinis statusas valstybėje, tuo mažesnės galimybės disponuoti embrionais, kartu bylinėtis dėl jų, ir atvirkščiai.
EŽTT, JAV teismų bylų analizė leidžia daryti išvadą, kad sutuoktinės galimybės prisiteisti užšaldytus embrionus savo pagalbiniam apvaisinimui priklauso nuo daugelio objektyvių ir subjektyvių aplinkybių: teisinės bazės konkrečioje valstybėje, susitarimo tarp sutuoktinių dėl embrionų panaudojimo, sutuoktinės reprodukcinių galimybių ir kt. „Gerąja praktika“ laikomas sutuoktinių susitarimo dėl embrionų panaudojimo sudarymas.
Lietuvoje nuo 2017 metų įsigaliojus naujajam Pagalbinio apvaisinimo įstatymui atsirado teisinės prielaidos kilti teisminiams ginčams dėl embrionų panaudojimo. Tačiau įstatyme stinga teisinio reglamentavimo, kuriame būtų užkirstas kelias bylinėjimuisi dėl embrionų tolimesnio panaudojimo. Todėl pateiktas pasiūlymas - LR Pagalbinio apvaisinimo įstatymą papildyti nuostata, pagal kurią prieš pradedant procedūrą IFV, sutuoktiniai būtų įpareigoti susitarti dėl sukurtų ir saugomų embrionų panaudojimo ateityje.|
Master’s thesis aims to answer the question of whether the wife can adjudge to herself the stored unused embryos and use them for her assisted reproduction during the dissolution of marriage.Object of the study – legal regulation and practical application of the spouse’s right to adjudge unused embryos; embryo protection doctrine. To achieve the objective, the following tasks are set: to reveal the issues of the legal status of embryo; to analyse how the situation when a spouse is seeking to adjudge the stored unused embryos for fertilization are addressed abroad; to evaluate the possibilities for spouses to adjudge stored unused embryos in Lithuania. Hypothesis of the study, which will be attempted to prove or disprove based on the results of the study: After adoption of the Law on Assisted Reproduction, hypothetical possibility for the wife to adjudge to herself the stored unused embryos for her assisted reproduction emerged in Lithuania. Method of document analysis, as well as the comparative, systematic and teleological methods were applied in the study.
Disputes between spouses regarding the stored unused embryos can occur when it is in general legally allowed to store (freeze) embryos. The main generally formulated assertion is: the “stronger” is the legal status of the embryo in a country, the lower are the possibilities to possess embryos, to litigate together for them, and vice versa. In this issue, more important are quite opposing theories pro-life and pro-choice. Broad possibilities for possession of embryos are established through the liberal pro-choice theory of the legal status of an embryo, according to which an embryo can be artificially created, stored by freezing or destroyed.
In European countries, very different prerequisites for possession of embryos are created, therefore it is difficult to find a common “denominator”. We can only conditionally distinguish countries where embryos can not be adjudged due to their “strong” status (e.g., Germany, Italy, Austria) and those in which embryos can be adjudged due to their “weaker” status (e.g., Estonia, United Kingdom).
Position of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is that the embryo is not the subject of protection under the Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), but it is not devalued to property.
Analysis of ECtHR and US judicial cases leads to a generalized conclusion that possibilities for the wife to adjudge frozen embryos for her own assisted fertilization depends on a number of objective and subjective factors: legal framework in a particular country, agreement between the spouses on the use of embryos, reproductive capacity of the wife, etc.
ECtHR case law shows that the dispute in embryo adjudgement cases is settled not based on infringement of Article 2 of the ECHR (because the embryo is not the subject of this article), but based on infringement of Article 8 of the ECHR. Practice is developed that such cases are very complicated because of conflicting interests of the spouses (e.g., wife’s desire to become a biological mother and husband’s unwillingness to forcibly father a child), and the lack of European consensus. Therefore, dealing with this very morally and ethically sensitive issue on the use of embryos, EC is encouraged to provide Member States with wider discretion limits, i.e. to allow establishing such legal regulation which would maintain balance of interests of competing parties, and to regulate the aforesaid issue by laws in as much detail as possible.
The study puts the focus on the US case law in embryo adjudgement cases due high numbers of these cases and diversity in decisions on the issue. It emphasizes the “best practices” of such cases that allow avoiding litigation concerning embryos and facilitate making decisions in court. This would be the advance agreement between the spouses regarding further possibilities to use embryos in case of divorce or death. From the US practice it is apparent that such an agreement must be based on the clearly expressed intentions of the parties. Chances for the wife to adjudge to herself the stored unused embryos for her assisted reproduction are also facilitated by the loss of her reproductive potential, especially due to oncological diseases.
Alternative uses of embryos are also discussed in the study – the wife may adjudge them not only for her own assisted fertilization, but also give to another infertile couple, donate for scientific research or simply destroy. In addition, not only the wife, but also the husband is entitled to adjudge embryos to himself. Solution of these issues also depends on the “strength” of status of the embryo in a particular country and on the unique circumstances of the case. Here the ECtHRParrillo case has been addressed, in which the court has adopted a slightly different position than in other cases, recognizing that the ban by Italian authorities for the wife to adjudge embryos with the purpose to donate them for scientific research is legitimate and justified. Such a decision has indirectly confirmed that the best purpose for adjudgement of embryos is their further use for reproduction.
In Lithuania, entry into force of the new Law on Assisted Reproduction in 2017 has created legal preconditions leading to litigation on the use of embryos, because the basic condition without which litigation on embryos would not be possible was implemented – freezing of embryos was allowed. Accordingly, the wife theoretically could litigate regarding the stored unused embryos for her own assisted fertilization. The truth is that to date such possibility can be considered only hypothetically, but this has allowed to confirm the hypothesis of the study. The new law, passed after lengthy discussions, is seen as a consensus between the conservative and liberal perspective.
Analysis of the Law led to the conclusion that it lacks legal regulation which would prevent litigation on further use of embryos. Description of Procedure on provision of assisted reproduction services and payment from the budget of the compulsory health insurance fund sets out requirements relating to the information, performance, risks, etc. regarding the IVF procedure, but there are no rules obligating the spouses to conclude an agreement on the future use of the stored unused embryos in case of divorce or death.
Proposal put forward in the thesis: to add a provision in the Law on Assisted Reproduction of the Republic of Lithuania that would oblige spouses to agree on the future use of the created and stored embryos before starting the IVF procedure; to set the requirements for such agreement, naming all the possible uses of the embryo.