Infertility and human rights - HRC 42 side event


ILGA World is supporting a side event organised by the Center for Reproductive Rights during the 42nd UN Human Rights Council, looking at the issue of infertility and human rights.

The event is aimed to create a space to speak about (in)fertility, its prevalence, prevention, causes and impact, as well as its human rights and gender equality dimensions.


HRC 42 side event - infertility and human rights

Infertility affects an estimated 180 million persons globally. Still, information and education about infertility - as well as fertility treatments, including assisted reproductive technologies - remain difficult to access for many individuals. Among the challenges are the non-prioritisation of (in)fertility issues in policies on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and prohibitive costs although its causes include sexually transmitted infections, unsafe abortions, and poor maternal care – all preventable with good quality comprehensive SRH services, including comprehensive sexuality education. 

Issues of infertility can create devastating social stigma, rooted in harmful gender stereotypes. Couples and individuals seeking fertility care and treatments, whether because of medical or social infertility, may not have access to available, acceptable, accessible and good quality sexual and reproductive health information and services, and therefore may not be able to exercise their informed consent.  

Solutions for infertility must be developed with attention to wider structural discrimination against women and gender stereotypes. Addressing infertility also requires an intersectional approach because it cuts across gender, class, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Infertility implicates multiple human rights including the rights to plan the timing and spacing of children, to benefit from scientific progress, to health, the sexual and reproductive health, to non-discrimination, as well as to informed consent and confidentiality.

Recent conversations pertaining to infertility and human rights have concerned the rights of all stakeholders involved in surrogacy arrangements and discrimination against same-sex couples and individuals in accessing IVF treatments.

This side event would help create a space to speak about (in)fertility, its prevalence, prevention causes and impact, as well as its human rights and gender equality dimensions. A human-rights based approach and framing to infertility would ensure that the human rights of all stakeholders involved in assisted reproduction, are respected, protected and fulfilled.


HRC 42 side event

September 12th, 2019, 12:00–13:00
Room XXII, Palais des Nations


Rajat Khosla Human Rights Adviser, Reproductive Health Research, World Health Organisation (WHO)
Leah Hoctor Regional Director for Europe, Center for Reproductive Rights
Kseniya Kirichenko Senior Officer - Women and UN advocacy, ILGA World
Paola Salwan Daher Senior Global Advocacy Advisor, Center for Reproductive Rights 

Moderation and introductory remarks

Ms. Lucinda O’Hanlon Adviser on Women’s Rights, Women’s Rights and Gender Section, OHCHR

The event will be recorded and made available on video platforms

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