Law and Ethics of Reproductive Technologies


Course Objective

This interdisciplinary course explores the bioethical, biolegal and
biopolitical dilemmas that are raised by technological developments at
the intersection of reproductive medicine and genetics.

This course will enable the student to critically reflect upon legal and
ethical dimensions of current public debates on the regulation of
assisted reproductive technologies. This course will teach the student
to come to an understanding of the key concepts and categories within
legal regulation of reproductive technologies, and to connect these with
various normative ethical theories.

Through an examination of the existing legal frameworks surrounding
reproductive and genetic technologies from the perspectives of law and
bioethics against the background of ongoing contemporary political and
societal discussions, the student will be trained to integrate ethical
reasoning, daily practices and legal rules and regulations into a
normative evaluation of these technologies. In this process the student
will be encouraged to take a legally and ethically argued position in
scientific debates on current developments
in the field of assisted reproductive technologies through written and
oral presentations of a legal and philosophical nature.

Course Content

Technologies at the intersection of reproductive medicine and genetics
offer news ways of creating human life. These technologies make it
possible to assemble, genetically screen, choose and, possibly, even
design one’s future children. How can societies decide who may access
these technologies to create what kind of children? Which rights, whose
rights and which public values should be taken into account within the
regulation of this complex field? And what are the legal and ethical
limits to these currently emerging forms of 'liberal eugenics'?

The general focus in this course will be on the role and meaning of
human rights and human dignity for the regulation of assisted
reproductive technologies.

Topics in this course include:
- law and ethics of prenatal testing
- selective reproduction and ‘designer babies’
- reproductive markets and reproductive tourism
- reproductive rights
- gestational and commercial surrogacy
- wrongful life
- the welfare of future children
- sperm and egg cell donation
- eugenics and human enhancement
- the status of embryos and gametes

Teaching Methods

This 3 week course will be taught through 6 interactive tutorials of
each 2,5 hours.

Method of Assessment

Written open-book exam.

Entry Requirements

No special knowledge of law, philosophy or bioethics is required to be
able to participate in this course. A basic knowledge of human rights
and a keen interest in the contemporary dilemmas surrounding
reproductive technologies are a plus.


All literature will be made available on Canvas, and will include legal
and philosophical academic literature, legal and political documents,
policy reports, news articles and audiovisual materials.

Target Audience

Because this course is also part of a university minor (Technology, Law
and Ethics), it is open to students from various academic backgrounds.

Apart from regular students, the course is also available for:
Students from other universities/faculties
Exchange students
Contractor (students who pay for one course)

General Information

Course Code R_LERT
Credits 6 EC
Period P3
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator prof. dr. mr. B.C. van Beers
Examiner prof. dr. mr. B.C. van Beers
Teaching Staff prof. dr. mr. B.C. van Beers

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: