Martha Davis08.06.20 — Professor Martha Davis has teamed up with Rajat Khosla, human rights advisor for the Department of Reproductive Health Research at the World Health Organization, to author a new article that explores evolving human rights norms and standards relating to infertility. In “Infertility and Human Rights: A Jurisprudential Survey” (40 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 1, 2020), Davis and Khosla argue that the failure to prevent infertility, the failure to treat infertility and the failure to recognize and respond to infertility and conditional childlessness raise human rights concerns.

"This survey illuminates the many ways that infertility intersects with and implicates human rights ranging from the right to health to the right to form a family," said Davis, who serves as faculty director for Northeastern Law's Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy and the NuLawLab"Too often, infertility policies are used as a sword -- for example, to prevent disabled individuals or same-sex couples from founding a family. This survey reveals that in many countries, infertility prevention and treatment is already rhetorically linked to human rights. It is time to go beyond rhetoric and begin to implementing these rights in ways that mitigate inequalities."

About Infertility and Human Rights

Every human being has a right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Individuals and couples have the right to decide the number, timing and spacing of their children. Infertility can negate the realisation of these essential human rights. Addressing infertility is therefore an important part of realizing the right of individuals and couples to found a family.

Addressing infertility can also mitigate gender inequality.

About Northeastern University School of Law

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