Prof. Dr. Débora Gozzo

Universidade São Judas Tadeu / Centro Universitário Fieo, UNIFIEO

Curriculum Vitae

Débora Gozzo studied at the faculty of law of the Universidade de São Paulo, where she specialized in private and procedural law and graduated in 1989. In 1992, she further received a degree in law from the University of Munster, before completing her doctorate degree in 1995 at the University of Bremen with a dissertation on “Das Transparenzprinzip und missbräuchliche Klauseln in Verbraucherverträgen” (“The Principle of Transparency and Abusive Clauses in Consumer Contracts”). She has researched and taught at various Brazilian universities and is currently active at the Universidade São Judas Tadeu and at the Centro Universitário Fieo in São Paulo. Professor Gozzo has held numerous visiting professorships and fellowships, inter alia as 2006 Georg Forster research stipend holder at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg and in 2014 at the University of Bonn’s German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences. Since 2013, she is member of the advisory board to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. From January to February 2016, she was Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”.

Research Project

The Price of Human Dignity in a Globalized World. On the commercialization of humankind

Since World War II, the principle of human dignity has been strongly emphasized in many countries, thereby placing humans in the center of many legal orders. In the meantime, biotechnology has developed to a point that since the 1980s, it is possible to conceive a child in a laboratory. The possibility of surrogate motherhood nowadays offers an alternative to becoming pregnant herself to a woman wishing to have a baby. Apart from few cases of surrogate motherhood free of charge, most surrogate mothers are paid for carrying a child. This suggests that humans are treated as goods in this context. Yet setting a price for a human life stands in fundamental contradiction to the principle of human dignity. In fact, several countries prohibit contracts for surrogate motherhood and other forms of reproductive medicine. Other countries, in which poverty is particularly pronounced, in turn display a certain tolerance for such cases.

Against this background, this research project seeks to investigate the following questions: What role might be played by cultural aspects of a society when it comes to exploiting women who allow themselves to be used as surrogate mothers against payment? To what extent is the principle of human dignity, which encompasses human self-determination, influenced by the cultural background of a society? Is there a way to balance the dignity and the commercialization of a human without treating her as a good? Is the decision of the legislator influenced by the moral, religious and cultural background of a society? In order to answer these questions, a comparative analysis shall be undertaken: The legal and cultural backgrounds of those countries in which contracts on surrogate motherhood are allowed or not yet subject to legislation are juxtaposed to those of such countries in which this form of contract is forbidden. Next to the phenomenon of surrogate motherhood as the principle object of this investigation, other forms of commercializing humankind in other areas of medicine shall also be considered.

Publications (selected)

  • Leihmutterschaft in Brasilien: Freiheit im Familienplanungsgesetz, in: FamZ (Wien) 2015/April, pp. 1-3.
  • A mercantilização da pessoa humana na maternidade de substituição. In: Scalquette, Ana Cláudia Silva; Nicoletti Camillo, Carlos Eduardo: Direito e Medicina: Novas fronteira da ciência jurídica, São Paulo: Atlas/Grupo Gen 2015, pp. 49-63.
  • Diagnóstico pré-implantatório e a busca pela perfeição humana, in: Revista de Direito Constitucional e Internacional, Nr. 92, 2015, pp. 327-352.
  • Direito à vida e autonomia da pessoa humana: o poder de decidir seus rumos, in: Gozzo, Débora; Ferraz, Anna Candida da Cunha: Estudos e Ensaios em homenagem a Luiz Carlos de Azevedo, São Paulo: Target 2014, pp. 121-139.
  • Estudos e Ensaios em homenagem a Luiz Carlos de Azevedo (Ed. with Ferraz, A. C. C.), São Paulo: Target 2014.
  • Direitos Humanos Fundamentais: doutrina, prátcia e jurisprudência. (Ed. with Ferraz, A. C. C.; Bittar, E. C. B.; Leister, M. A.), Niterói: Impetus 2013.
  • Informação e Direitos Fundamentais: a eficácia horizontal das normas constitucionais, São Paulo: Editora Saraiva 2012.
  • Bioética e Direitos Fundamentais (Ed. with Ligiera, Wilson Ricardo), São Paulo: Saraiva 2012 (awarded as a finalist at the national book award Prêmio Jabuti in 2013).
  • Direito e Dignidade da Família: do começo ao fim da vida (Ed. with Pereira Junior, A. J.; Ligiera, W. R.), São Paulo/Lissabon: Almedina 2012.
  • Principais Controvérsias no Novo Código Civil (Ed. with Alves, José Carlos Moreira; Reale, Miguel), São Paulo: Saraiva 2006.
  • Das Transparenzprinzip und missbräuchliche Klauseln in Verbraucherverträgen, New York: Peter Lang 1996.
  • Pacto Antenupcial, São Paulo: Saraiva 1992.
  • Ação de nulidade de venda a descendente - Coleção Saraiva de Prática do Direito, São Paulo: Saraiva 1988.
  • Procedimento de Interdição - Coleção Saraiva de Prática do Direito, São Paulo: Saraiva 1986.