Towards facilitative regulation of assisted reproductive treatment in Australia

Publisher:
Lawbook Co
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Law and Medicine, 2013, 20 (4), pp. 701 - 711
Issue Date:
2013-01
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This editorial introduces four articles reporting on the results of a four-year ARC-funded research project undertaken at the University of Technology Sydney. The study explored how Australian laws and policies across States and Territories affected the decisions of assisted reproductive treatment users with respect to their frozen embryos. In this editorial we offer some conclusions about the impact of the law which we argue fundamentally fails to take account of the diversity of ways in which embryos have meaning for the women and men who created them. We believe that informed choice and autonomy in the area of reproduction is vital. This goes beyond "consent" to a particular outcome and involves an active and ongoing process of selection. State intervention in decisions about family formation should only occur in pursuit of legitimate objectives, justified by evidence, and intrude only to the extent that is absolutely necessary. Therefore, we conclude that there must be a fundamental rethinking of the role of the state in the regulation of assisted reproductive treatment towards one of facilitative regulation. Major reforms that follow from this reconceptualisation include the provision of external information-giving and dispute resolution body or bodies to assist genuinely informed decision-making.
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