Frith, Lucy and Blyth, Eric (2010) Reproductive autonomy and welfare of the child assessments in infertility treatment. Human Reproduction, 25 (S1). i93-i96. ISSN 02681161

One of the most controversial aspects of the regulation of infertility treatment, in the UK, is that, ‘account must be taken of the welfare of the chid who may be born as a result of the treatment.’ In 2005 the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) modified its guidance and stated, ‘there should be a presumption to provide treatment, unless there is evidence that the child to be born, or any existing child of the family, is likely to suffer serious medical, physical or psychological harm.’ This was seen as bringing in a ‘lighter touch’ to welfare of the child assessments. The revised Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which came into force in October 2009, kept this provision (with modification to the need for a father requirement). One of the main focuses of ethical debate over welfare of the child in the bioethical literature has been concern over its impact on reproductive autonomy. John Harris, for example, argues that such a provision is an unjustified restriction on reproductive autonomy, as did the House of Commons Technology Committee in 2005; while others think that such autonomy has not been restricted enough (Baroness Deech for example). This paper approaches this debate by presenting the results of a qualitative study on clinicians’ views on welfare of the child.

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email