A great number of Intended Parents looking for artificial fertilization and surrogacy services have a question whether gender selection of embryos before implantation is legal and possible in Russia. This post is dedicated to those Intended Parents and contains a detailed legal advice on the matter.

The right to family planning and regulation of the reproductive function is incorporated in articles 51, 55 and 80 of the Federal Law # 323-ФЗ On Fundamentals of Citizen Health Care in the Russian Federation as of November 21st, 2011. The provisions of the federal law stipulate that every woman of legal age has the right to artificial fertilization and embryo implantation (embryo transfer). A person’s general right to be informed about expected medical intervention is particularly important in case of assisted fertilization. A woman has the right to know about the upcoming medical treatment and its consequences, the donor’s medical and genetic condition, his (or her) appearance and ethnicity. It is understood that this information is confidential and may not be disclosed to anyone other than the doctor and the patient. The right to family planning covers the possibility and grounds for artificial termination of pregnancy, but many people interested in using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) also ask whether they have the right to determine sex of their child.

This question has a definite answer in the Russian legal system. Article 55 of the aforementioned law says that sex may not be chosen when using assisted reproductive technologies, except to exclude possible sex-linked hereditary diseases. In this the Russian law follows international standards, specifically The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (ETS N 164), opened for signature on April 4th, 1997 in Oviedo (Spain). For example, article 14 of the Convention reads:

„Assisted reproductive technologies may not be used for choosing sex of the child, except to avoid hereditary sex-related genetic diseases.”

Even though Russia has not signed this convention, its main principles and ideas have been reflected in domestic legislation.

Thus, Russian law follows international legal governance of ART issues in forbidding sex selection.

Sex selection is legal in Russia only for those Intended Parents who can prove they have a sex-linked genetic disorder running in the family with the corresponding medical documentation.