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Regulating Reproductive Technologies [Independent Study Unit]. Rels 300 / Nurs 330 23 January 2014. Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies. 25 October 1989

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royal commission on new reproductive technologies
Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies

25 October 1989

“By Order in Council…we were requested to inquire into and report upon current and potential medical and scientific developments related to new reproductive technologies, considering in particular their social, ethical, health, research, legal and economic implications and the public interest, recommending what policies and safeguards should be applied.”

15 November 1993

Proceed with Care: Final Report of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies

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  • Establish a National Reproductive Technologies Commission to license and regulate research and technologies
  • Recognize the potential harms to women and children and to important social values in Canada
  • Establish sub-committees for specific areas of responsibility, licensing and regulation:
    • Infertility prevention
    • Assisted conception
    • Assisted insemination
    • Prenatal diagnosis and genetics
    • Human zygote/embryo research
    • Fetal tissue for use in research

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Assisted Human Reproduction ActS.C. 2004: An Act respecting assisted human reproduction and related research

Assisted Human Reproduction Act (S.C. 2004, c. 2)

  •; OR
  • See especially Section 8 (Consent to use) Regulations - Guidance Document (October 30, 2007)

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Consent to use Human Reproductive Material and in vitro embryos [fact sheet on Section 8, Consent to use]

What are the elements of consent in this Act?

How does consent apply to the donor and user of human reproductive material?

What minimum age is established for which activities?

How does consent apply to material after death?

How does consent apply to the use of in vitro embryos?

How does a person withdraw his or her consent?

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275 specific recommendations
275 Specific Recommendations

Areas of regulatory responsibility and licensing:

  • Licensed facilities
  • National standards of service
  • National sperm collection & distribution system
  • National standards, licensed facilities for prenatal diagnostic services
  • Research to assess safety and effectiveness of reproductive technologies
  • Annual reporting by licensed facilities to National Commission
  • Embryo research permitted only during first 14 days following fertilization
  • Infertility prevention initiatives

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prohibited activities

List key activities that are prohibited by the legislation:

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May any services and/or biological materials be offered in exchange for financial compensation?

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expressed goals of legislation
Expressed goals of legislation:

“The point of the legislation is to stop exploitation, the stop the commodification of children and those important values that we ought to protect and that’s what this legislation is doing”

  • Dr. Françoise Baylis, Dalhousie University

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2006 assisted human reproduction canada ahrc
2006 – Assisted Human Reproduction Canada (AHRC)
  • Regulatory body appointed by the federal government
  • 2008 – constitutional challenge from the Province of Quebec, supported by Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick
    • Some aspects of federal legislation overlapped with provincial jurisdictions
  • 2010 – Supreme Court of Canada (5/4 split decision)

→ provinces have the right to regulate health care aspects of fertility clinics

→ Ottawa has the right to ban human cloning and prohibit fees for ova, sperm & surrogates

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federal budget 2012
Federal Budget 2012
  • AHRC was cut in early 2013
  • Health Canada assumed some of the AHRC’s responsibilities
  • Once again, Canada has no clear process for regulating fertility treatments or enforcing federal legislation

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Prohibitions related to Purchasing Reproductive Material and Purchasing or Selling In Vitro Embryos

    • Principles
    • Prohibitions
    • Reasons for Prohibitions
    • Minimum age for Donors
    • In Vitro Embryos
    • Compliance

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Prohibitions related to Surrogacy

    • Principles
    • Prohibitions
    • Reasons for Prohibitions
    • Minimum age for Surrogates
    • Surrogacy Arrangements
    • Compliance

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The Demise of Assisted Human Reproduction CanadaFrançoise Baylis, PhDProfessor and Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax NSJ ObstetGynaecol Can 2012;34(6):511–513Found online here:

Read the following editorial by Dr. Francoise Baylis:

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According to Baylis:

  • What was the Assisted Human Reproduction Act designed to do?
  • What initiatives were implemented?
  • What initiatives were ignored?
  • What is her explanation for the “demise” of the Assisted Human Reproduction Canada agency?

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