Public interest or public meddling? Towards an objective framework for the regulation of assisted reproduction technologies
Authors: Johnson, Martin H.; Petersen, Kerry
Source: Human Reproduction, Volume 23, Number 3, 9 March 2008 , pp. 716-728(13)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) bear a heavy regulatory burden in some jurisdictions. This burden constrains patient autonomy and the professional autonomy of doctors and scientists.
We question why this should be by analyzing the possible public interests in ART regulation under the headings: health, financial, ethico-legal and socio-political. Throughout, we try to identify whether comparable public interest claims are made for other areas of medicine, but accommodated without the requirement for specialized statutory frameworks such as those exemplified in the UK and Victoria (Australia).
We identify a small core of public interest concerns that seem to justify some sort of special regulatory structure, but not one as elaborate as those currently in place. We then develop a five-step quality control model, familiar to biomedical practice but novel in the context of legal thinking, to aid development and review of regulatory policy and practice. This model is applied both prospectively to the proposal to record by donation on birth certificates, and retrospectively to the regulation of parental choice about the genetic make-up of offspring in UK and Victorian jurisdictions.
The model provides a useful and robust framework for pin-pointing problems with regulatory regimes, to stimulate empirical research, and to facilitate both the review and development of regulatory policy.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 9 March 2008
- Human Reproduction features full-length, peer-reviewed papers reporting original research, clinical case histories, as well as opinions and debates on topical issues. Papers published cover the scientific and medical aspects of reproductive physiology and pathology, endocrinology, andrology, gonad function, gametogenesis, fertilization, embryo development, implantation, pregnancy, genetics, genetic diagnosis, oncology, infectious disease, surgery, contraception, infertility treatment, psychology, ethics and social issues. The highest scientific and editorial standard is maintained throughout the journal along with a rapid rate of publication.