Chair’s Foreword




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Use of Gametes and Embryos in Human Reproductive Research:
Determining Policy for New Zealand


A Discussion Paper

Citation: Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology. Use of Gametes and Embryos in Human Reproductive Research: Determining Policy for New Zealand: A Discussion Paper. Wellington: Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology.

Published in December 2006 by the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology, PO Box 5013, Wellington, New Zealand.

ISBN: 978-0-478-30712-2 (Book)
ISBN: 978-0-478-30713-9 (Internet)
HP4339

This document is available on the ACART website: www.newhealth.govt.nz/acart


Chair’s Foreword


Should human gamete and embryo research be undertaken in New Zealand, and if so, under what conditions?


These are important questions for New Zealanders to consider.


Internationally, scientific developments involving the use of gametes and embryos in research are taking place. These developments further our understanding of various disease states as well as our understanding of normal growth and development. New Zealand researchers would like the opportunity to contribute to this work. However the use of gametes and embryos for research raises ethical, spiritual and cultural issues, which we must also take into consideration.


Under the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act (the HART Act), the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ACART) must advise the Minister of Health on whether research using gametes and embryos should be allowed, and if so, whether limits should be placed on that research. In preparing their advice ACART must take into account the views of New Zealanders.


Accordingly, ACART has prepared a discussion paper to provide background material that we hope will assist you in your thinking. The paper presents information from a variety of perspectives: scientific, ethical, legal and policy.


Please take the time to consider the issues raised in this paper and to send us your views so that ACART can prepare advice based on as many views as possible. Where groups self-organise to consider the discussion paper and their submission, ACART will make every effort to attend if requested.


I look forward to receiving your opinions on this important issue.


Sylvia Rumball

Chair, Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology


Contents


Chair’s Foreword iii

Contents v

Preface vi

1 Introduction 1

2. Embryo Growth and Development 3

3. Possibilities for Gamete and Embryo Research 12

4. Needs, Values, and Beliefs of Māori 18

5. Ethical, Spiritual and Cultural Perspectives 21

6. Regulation in New Zealand 29

7. International Overview of Embryo Research, Policy Development and Legislation 32

8. Determining Policy for New Zealand 41

Glossary 43

Further Reading 48

Members of ACART 49

References 52

How to Contribute 55

Submission Form 58



Preface


Reproductive technologies have expanded greatly in the last 30 years, and there has been increased interest in the use of human gametes and embryos in research – including fundamental biological research, reproductive research, and as a source of stem cells.


Until 2004 clinical care and research in this area were regulated through a combination of professional self-regulation and indirect institutional and legislative requirements that necessitated ethical review. The National Ethics Committee on Assisted Human Reproduction (NECAHR) carried out this review.

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