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Autonomy versus protection--who benefits from the regulation of IVF?

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Human reproduction (Oxford, England)
Publication Date
Volume
21
Issue
12
Pages
3044–3049
Identifiers
PMID: 16885389
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Parliament will soon be asked to decide about the future regulation of IVF in the United Kingdom. Given that IVF is now considered to be a routine clinical procedure and the fact that we live in an age of unprecedented emphasis on autonomy and patient rights, the justification for continuing to regulate this form of treatment will undoubtedly be challenged. This article considers the four key reasons why the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) was originally established-to protect patients and their children, to allay public concerns, to protect scientific freedom and to protect IVF practitioners from claims of unethical behaviour-and asks to what extent these reasons are still valid today. Acknowledging that there are difficulties and frustrations with the HFEA, the article warns that all parties-patients, researchers, IVF practitioners and society-have a lot to lose by limiting the scope of regulation. It concludes that before moving too quickly to get rid of the HFEA as we know it, we need to think carefully about whether the burdens and restrictions imposed by regulation are sufficiently onerous to justify this loss.

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