Human rights and human tissue: The case of sperm as property

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


    In a 2012 case from Canada, the Supreme Court of British Columbia held that sperm acquired and stored for the purposes of IVF could be considered shared marital property in the event of a separation. This case followed on from similar cases that accepted sperm as capable of being property. This chapter suggests that these cases are indicative of a shift from the legal conceptualisation of bodies and body parts as falling within a human dignity frame to accepting individual property rights claims. It explores the nature of the property claims to sperm before the (common law) courts in the context of the rise of human rights within law and technology, and argues that accepting these claims risks corrupting the very thing rights seek to protect.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford handbook on the law and regulation of technology
    EditorsRoger Brownsword, Karen Yeung, Eloise Scotford
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages25
    ISBN (Print)9780199680832
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


    • Property rights; human rights; rights talk; sperm; ‘giftedness’; J.C.M.


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