Medical Tourism and Multilevel Regulation for MRT in the European Union

Walter G. Johnson, Diana M. Bowman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The European Union has been a significant jurisdiction for research in and legal authorisation of mitochondrial replacement therapies (MRT). While still an EU member state, the United Kingdom became the first national government to authorise and regulate MRT. A human clinical trial of maternal spindle transfer techniques to treat infertility was approved by Greek regulators in 2016. However, little supranational regulation of MRT has occurred in Europe, with EU decision-makers appearing to leave discretion to national governments despite the potential for patients to readily cross borders to receive reproductive care. This chapter reviews the current state of reproductive healthcare policy and medical tourism in Europe before exploring international and supranational legal norms potentially relevant to MRT and examining the cases of the United Kingdom and Greece in this context. The chapter concludes that reproductive tourism for MRT in the EU appears likely to continue absent supranational or transnational interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReproduction Reborn
Subtitle of host publicationHow Science, Ethics, and Law Shape Mitochondrial Replacement Therapies
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780197616192
ISBN (Print)9780197616208
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • European Union
  • Greece
  • Oviedo Convention
  • Ukraine
  • clinical applications
  • cross-border medicine
  • healthcare
  • mitochondrial replacement therapy
  • multilevel regulation
  • reproductive treatments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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