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Protecting the Genetic Data of Unborn Children:

A Critical Analysis

Kärt Pormeister, Łukasz Drożdżowski


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be uniformly applied across the EU as of 25 May 2018. However, the GDPR will fail to harmonise a number of aspects of personal data processing. One of the questions left unanswered is the protection of prenatally obtained genetic data. As does Directive 95/46/EC, the GDPR centres the definition of personal data and data subject on the ‘natural person’, presumed to mean living persons. Member States will be left a margin of discretion for regulating the protection of data concerning deceased persons, but the GDPR makes no mention of data obtained from persons yet to be born. This article aims to analyse the protection of the genetic data of unborn children in the framework of personal data protection, arguing for unborn children to be regarded as data subjects and proposing special considerations to be given in regard to the protection of their genetic data.

Kärt Pormeister, LL.M. in Health law (Uniiversity of Houston, Texas), junior researcher and PhD candidate in IT law at the School of Law, University of Tartu. For correspondence: <>. Łukasz Drożdżowski, LL.M. (Chicago-Kent), LL.M. candidate (University of Münster), a Polish legal advisor. For correspondence: <>.


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