European Review of Private Law

Volume 26 (2018)

Volume 26 (2018) / Issue 3

Daniele D’Alvia, Angelo Viglianisi Ferraro, 'The (Legal) Qualification of the Embryo and Its Utilization for Scientific Research Purposes Under the European Multilevel Protection System of Fundamental Rights' (2018) 26 European Review of Private Law, Issue 3, pp. 421–443


This article aims to bear further discussion on the disputed legal issue that centres on identifying a possible ontological qualification of the embryo. Notably, this article explores how scientific research and various medical treatments can affect the legal status of embryos. We consider, from a comparative point of view, domestic and international legal orders as well as specific legal venues such as courts, to show how the law and judicial interpretation of it can interact as legal formants to influence the legal qualification of the embryo. This article considers the law as a mere legal venue for establishing a possible uniform ontological qualification of the embryo hinging on the concept of human dignity. In fact, human dignity, as opposed to legal formants, can be used to define the internal and external limits to a proper legal qualification of the embryo. This is because human dignity informs the discourse on ‘life’, and we term this approach as a predetermined and unqualified connotation of life itself. Indeed, this approach can now be used to construct a possible limit to any interference, modification, or evaluation that can directly affect the legal qualification of the embryo tout court.

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ISSN: 0928-9801
ID: ERPL2018028