Needle and petri dish

Legal Status of Single Persons in Fertility Treatment in the UK

Wednesday 7 December 2016, 10:00 - 16:45

The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

In 2008, changes in the law confirmed access to assisted reproduction for same-sex couples and single women. However, the access of single persons to fertility treatment remains controversial. According to recent media reports, the number of single women using fertility clinics in the UK has tripled in the last decade. Conversely, new academic studies suggest that single women can be subject to prejudice and potential incidental discrimination. At the same time, a new definition of infertility reportedly proposed by the WHO and based on human rights considerations (rather than biological factors) could signal a slow conceptual shift in thinking about fertility and reproduction at the international level.

This Workshop, focused the Legal Status of Single Persons in Fertility Treatment, is designed to facilitate discussions between academic lawyers, legal and medical practitioners, and other stake-holders about problems emerging in this area of law and healthcare. The purpose of these discussions is to create a forum for critical engagement with the challenges stemming from the existing legal and regulatory framework, both in theory and in practice.

The Workshop, which forms part of project funded by a BA/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant, offers an opportunity to discuss the findings of the project, conducted by academics from Sheffield and Cardiff University.

The purpose of the project is to evaluate the extent to which single persons have access to publicly funded fertility treatment in the UK. It aims to establish:

a) how principles of justice and non-discrimination support single persons’ claims to publicly funded fertility treatment.

b) the legal situation of single men in the context of assisted reproduction.

c) the number of single persons using NHS services in comparison to private fertility treatment.

These and other questions will be discussed in the meeting by a range of expert speakers with a wide range of disciplinary and professional backgrounds.


Registration has now closed.