Josep Ferrer-Riba

fotoReproductive arrangements with the contribution of a genetic progenitor without parental responsibilities: proposals for a legal framework

With the spread of heterologous ART, the law allows to make genetic contributions to a reproductive process without assuming parental responsibilities. The legal regulation of these «mere genetic progenitors» leaves no room for private autonomy: their contribution has not a contractual basis and the access to donated gametes or embryos is strictly regulated by law, requiring the intervention of a licensed fertility clinic. This approach goes into crisis once ART can be implemented at domestic level (home artificial insemination)  and also when new forms of families induce people to implement reproductive projects with the support of third parties as genetic contributors on the basis of private agreements. The law must then decide whether to open some space to contractual ordering in reproductive decisions and redefine the legal status of these «mere genetic progenitors», particularly with respect to the disclosure of their personal identity, the maintenance of personal relationships with the child, and the allocation of parental responsibilities.

Josep Ferrer-Riba is Professor of Civil Law at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona). Visiting Scholar at the universities of Göttingen, Yale, Bologna and Leuven. His teaching and research has mainly focused on child and family law, elder law, nonprofit organizations, and comparative private law. Member of the Catalan Law Comission for the Codification of Catalan Civil Law and key participant in the preparatory work for Catalan family and succession law.  Leading researcher of the project «Reproductive freedom and formation of family relationships» and member of the Advisory Committee of the European project «Empowering European Families». Director of the section «Law of Persons and Family» in the law review InDret (, member of the international advisory board of Zeitschrift für das gesamte Familienrecht (FamRZ), the leading family law journal in Germany, and corresponding member for Catalonia and Spain in Cambridge Family Law Center.

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