Main Article Content

The right to family life: Why the genetic link requirement for surrogacy should be struck out

D Thaldar


Background. South African surrogacy law includes a provision, known as the genetic link requirement, that commissioning parents must use their own gametes for the conception of a surrogate child. As a result, infertile persons who cannot contribute gametes for the conception of a child are prohibited from accessing surrogacy as a way to establish families. The genetic link requirement was previously the subject of a constitutional challenge, but the challenge was rejected by a divided Constitutional Court bench with a seven-to-four majority. The genetic link requirement is again being challenged in a new lawsuit.
Objective. In light of the history of the issue, this article investigates the viability of relying on infertile persons’ right to family life in the new lawsuit.
Method. The investigation takes the form of a human rights analysis.
Results. The right to family life was not considered in the previous case. As such, the right to family life constitutes a new legal issue that falls outside the scope of the precedent set by the Constitutional Court, and can therefore be relied upon. The genetic link requirement is a clear violation of infertile persons’ right to family life, which includes the right to establish a family. Potential justifications for such violation are considered, but found wanting. Accordingly, the genetic link requirement is unconstitutional and should be struck out.
Conclusion. The outcome of the previous lawsuit was an injustice towards infertile persons. The new lawsuit presents an opportunity for this injustice to be rectified by vindicating infertile persons’ right to family life.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1999-7639