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Determining the status of non-transferred embryos in Ireland: a conspectus of case law and implications for clinical IVF practice.
Sills, Eric Scott; Murphy, Sarah Ellen
<p>This article is also available from http://www.biomedcentral.com/</p> <p>The development of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) as a treatment for human infertilty was among the most controversial medical achievements of the modern era. In Ireland, the fate and status of supranumary (non-transferred) embryos derived from IVF brings challenges both for clinical practice and public health policy because there is no judicial or legislative framework in place to address the medical, scientific, or ethical uncertainties. Complex legal issues exist regarding informed consent and ownership of embryos, particularly the use of non-transferred embryos if a couple separates or divorces. But since case law is only beginning to emerge from outside Ireland and because legislation on IVF and human embryo status is entirely absent here, this matter is poised to raise contractual, constitutional and property law issues at the highest level. Our analysis examines this medico-legal challenge in an Irish context, and summarises key decisions on this issue rendered from other jurisdictions. The contractual issues raised by the Roche case regarding informed consent and the implications the initial judgment may have for future disputes over embryos are also discussed. Our research also considers a putative Constitutional 'right to procreate' and the implications EU law may have for an Irish case concerning the fate of frozen embryos. Since current Medical Council guidelines are insufficient to ensure appropriate regulation of the advanced reproductive technologies in Ireland, the report of the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction is most likely to influence embryo custody disputes. Public policy requires the establishment and implementation of a more comprehensive legislative framework within which assisted reproductive medical services are offered.</p>
Keyword(s): Embryo Disposition; Fertilization in Vitro; Humans; Ireland; Physician's Practice Patterns; Medicine and Health Sciences; Obstetrics and Gynecology
Publication Date:
2009
Type: Journal article
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Institution: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Citation(s): Sills ES, Murphy SE. Determining the status of non-transferred embryos in Ireland: a conspectus of case law and implications for clinical IVF practice. Philosophy Ethics Humanitites in Medicine. 2009;4:8.
File Format(s): application/pdf
Related Link(s): http://epubs.rcsi.ie/obsgynart/5
First Indexed: 2015-07-31 15:36:24 Last Updated: 2015-07-31 15:56:37