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Artificial Womb Technology, Pregnancy and EU Employment Rights

Hooton, Victoria; Romanis, Elizabeth Chloe

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Victoria Hooton


This article considers challenges for the European Union (EU) maternity and pregnancy rights framework when faced with advances in reproductive technology. Specifically, we consider how the introduction of the ‘artificial womb’ technology, an alternative to bodily gestation, would impact the availability of rights that exist under the maternity and discrimination framework. Employment rights in the EU context have already been confronted by the challenges of advancements in reproduction. We use the case law on in vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy as a baseline for unpacking the challenges that ‘artificial wombs’ will bring. This analysis of the legal framework on maternity rights and sex discrimination will highlight potential avenues for integrating this technology and ensuring the continuation of rights for those opting for it. We advocate against the stratification of maternity and pregnancy rights based on the reproductive and gestational choices made by the pregnant person.


Hooton, V., & Romanis, E. C. (2022). Artificial Womb Technology, Pregnancy and EU Employment Rights. Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 9(1), Article 009.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 11, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 4, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 30, 2022
Journal Journal of Law and the Biosciences
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 1
Article Number 009


Published Journal Article (635 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Duke University School of Law, Harvard Law School, Oxford University Press, and Stanford Law School. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:<br /> This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivs licence (, which permits non-commercial reproduction and distribution of the work, in any medium, provided the original work is not altered or transformed in any way, and that the work properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact

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