In 2001, the applicant had her eggs extracted for the purposes of in vitro fertilization. Subsequently, her ovaries were removed due to the presence of tumors. Six embryos were created using her eggs and the sperm of her partner. The law in force allowed for the withdrawal of consent by either party prior to ‘use’ of the embryos. Both applicant and her partner signed consent forms stipulating the ability to withdraw consent. In 2002, the applicant’s relationship with her partner ended and he withdrew his consent for the applicant to use the embryos.

The applicant sought an injunction invoking articles 2 (right to life), 8 (right to private and family life), and 14 (right to non-discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights. She argued under Article 2 that the embryo was entitled to a right to life; under Article 8 that allowing for the withdrawal of consent would violate her right to respect for her private and family life because she would be deprived of any opportunity to produce genetically related children; and under Article 14, in conjunction with Article 8, that the law was discriminatory on the basis of sex because women who have children through intercourse are not subject to the father’s withdrawal of consent post-fertilization.

The national courts rejected her claims and she appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.