Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, II Section, 16 September 2014, X and Y v. Italy (Application No. 41146/14)

Inadmissible for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies, the complaint brought by the genetic parents of twins born as a result of an exchange of embryos that took place at the hospital Pertini in Rome. Invoking Article 8 of the Convention, the applicants complained that their right to respect for private and family life has been violated since their embryos have been wrongly implanted in another woman’s uterus as a consequence of a mistake. According to the Court, the applicants could claim compensation for the damage suffered as a result of medical negligence, or they could request the investigation of the criminal liability of the healthcare staff who had made the mistake. Even the Order of the Court of Rome, pursuant to Article 700 Code of Civil Procedure, which rejected the applicants’ request to be declared the twins’ parents or, in the alternative, that they were entrusted to a protected structure, was subject to appeal. Moreover, against the hospital’s refusal to disclose the identity of the other couple involved in the exchange, the applicants could have to carry out regular request to access administrative acts. In the event of a possible silence of the administration, the applicants should have brought an action to the Administrative Court.