The Uncanny Embryos: Revisited after the Passing of the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Act(2006)' and 'Better than Normal: choosing to self-construct' including commentary

York Institute for Health Research
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2008, pp. 1 - 49
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Research Background This research paper developed from a two part invited lecture series for the York Institute for Health Research (YIHR) Spotlight On Health Research Seminar Series. It includes two articles with separate commentary by experts in other disciplines. The first article revisits earlier research (published in Sydney Law Review) examining amendments to the Prohibition of Human Cloning [for Reproduction] Act (2002) and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act (2002). The second article brings together two areas separately considered elsewhere; regulatory regimes around the use of PGD to choose an embryo with an abnormality and the use of body modification technologies for non-therapeutic or enhancing purposes. Research Contribution The first paper explores the legal regulation of biotechnologies that make it possible to create varying embryonic forms including clones and hybrids. It raises questions about the meaning of legal "personhood" and the role of women in the gestation of prohibited embryos. The second paper explores the role for law in regulating the use of genetic and cosmetic modification technologies where it is to achieve outcomes that do not conform to traditional ideals of normalcy. Research Significance This research interrogates the values we apply when regulating to limit or prohibit production of certain kinds of humans. The legal and ethical dilemmas posed by this regulatory task are novel and require a new degree of scrutiny that explores the underlying assumptions and motivations behind the law. This research begins an important international and cross-disciplinary discussion about the appropriate role for law in this context. The report appears both online and in CD form and has been distributed through the Canadian YIHR network. Further development of the ideas appears in Australia as part of Chapter 5 in B Bennett, T Carney and I Karpin (eds) The Brave New World of Health (Federation Press, Sydney 2008).
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