REPORT No. 85/10
GRETEL ARTAVIA MURILLO ET AL.
(IN VITRO FERTILIZATION)
July 14, 2010
On January 19, 2001, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter
the “Inter-American Commission,” “the Commission” or “the IACHR”) received a petition that Mr.
Gerardo Trejos Salas (hereinafter “the petitioner”) lodged against the Republic of Costa Rica
(hereinafter “the State,” “Costa Rica” or “the Costa Rican State”) alleging its international
responsibility for having denied the alleged victims access to the practice of in vitro fertilization
within Costa Rica. By its judgment number 2000-02306, of March 15, 2000, the Constitutional
Chamber of the Costa Rican Supreme Court held that Presidential Decree No. 24029-S of February
3, 1995, which regulated the practice of in vitro fertilization within Costa Rica, was
On March 11, 2004, the Commission approved admissibility report No. 25/04 1 in
which it concluded that it did have jurisdiction to consider the complaint and decided, based on the
arguments of fact and of law and without prejudging the merits of the petition, to declare it
admissible with respect to the alleged violation of articles 1, 2, 11, 17 and 24 of the American
Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the “American Convention” or the “Convention”) to the
detriment of the alleged victims.
The petitioner contends that the ruling that the Constitutional Chamber of the Costa
Rican Supreme Court delivered on March 15, 2000, in which it prohibited the practice of in vitro
fertilization in the country, violates the following persons’ rights under the American Convention:
Gretel Artavia Murillo, Miguel Mejía Carballo, Andrea Bianchi Bruno, German Alberto Moreno
Valencia, Ana Cristina Castillo León, Enrique Acuña Cartín, Ileana Henchos Bolaños, Miguel Antonio
Yamuni Zeledón, Claudia María Carro Maklouf, Víctor Hugo Sanabria León, Karen Espinoza Vindas,
Héctor Jiménez Acuña, Maria del Socorro Calderón P., Joaquina Arroyo Fonseca, Geovanni Antonio
Vega, Carlos E. Vargas Solórzano, Julieta González Ledezma and Oriester Rojas Carranza.
The State, for its part, argues that it has not committed any breach of the American
Convention because the case does not state facts that tend to establish a violation of human rights
guaranteed therein. The State contends that the Constitutional Chamber regulated the right to
reproduce by stating that the right to reproduce must be subordinate to the absolute right to life, as
it would be a contradiction to allow the possibility of a life at the cost of other human lives which is,
in its view, what happens when the technique of in vitro fertilization is practiced. The State
reasons that Costa Rica is thus simply enforcing Article 4 of the American Convention.
After weighing the parties’ positions and examining the facts of the case, and in
accordance with Article 50 of the American Convention, in this report the Commission concludes
that the State of Costa Rica is responsible for violation of the rights protected under articles 11(2),
See, IACHR, Report No. 25/04 (Admissibility), Petition 12,361, Ana Victoria Sánchez Villalobos et al., Costa Rica,
March 11, 2004. By a communication dated November 18, 2008, Ana Victoria Sánchez Villalobos and her husband
Fernando Salazar Postilla informed the Commission that they were withdrawing from the case sub examine. The Commission
therefore changed the name of the case.