Canada finalises ART legislation
Dr Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust
15 May 2002
Anne McLellan, Canadian Minister of Health, last week introduced a comprehensive bill on assisted reproduction technologies (ARTs) to the Canadian parliament. Called an 'Act respecting assisted human reproduction', it is designed to protect the health and safety of Canadians using ARTs, whilst prohibiting 'unacceptable' activities and regulating research.
The bill would also establish a regulatory body, the Assisted Human Reproduction Agency of Canada (AHRAC), which, in a similar way to the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), will license, monitor and enforce the new law.
Procedures that would be prohibited by the Act include cloning (for both reproductive and therapeutic purposes), sex-selection of embryos for non-medical reasons, payments to women acting as surrogates, payment for donated gametes and the buying or selling of human embryos.
The collection, alteration, manipulation or treatment of any human reproductive material for the purpose of creating an embryo will be regulated by the Act, as will storage of reproductive material and of information about donors. Donors will have to give fully informed written consent before their gametes or embryos are used and children born following donation will be entitled to receive medical information about the donors. Donors will be identifiable only if they consent to this. Embryo stem cell research would be allowed on surplus IVF embryos, but not on embryos created specifically for the purpose.
Anne McLellan said that the proposed legislation 'addresses some very complex and important issues. Canadians have made it clear that they want safe procedures and the benefit of important medical discoveries, but not at any cost. This proposed Act clarifies what we, as a society, find acceptable'.
© Copyright Progress Educational Trust
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.
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