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Desperately seeking donors : the 'saviour sibling' decision in Quintavalle v Human Fertilisation And Embryology Authority (UK)
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by B Hocking, Scott GuyScott Guy
The recent House of Lords decision in Quintavalle v Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has raised difficult and complex issues regarding the extent to which embryo selection and reproductive technology can be used as a means of rectifying genetic disorders and treating critically ill children. This comment outlines the facts of Quintavalle and explores how the House of Lords approached the legal, ethical and policy issues that arose out of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's (UK) decision to allow reproductive and embryo technology to be used to produce a 'saviour [*2] sibling' whose tissue could be used to save the life of a critically ill child. Particular attention will be given to the implications of the decision in Quintavalle for Australian family and medical law and policy. As part of this focus, the comment explores the current Australian legislative and policy framework regarding the use of genetic and reproductive technology as a mechanism through which to assist critically ill siblings. It is argued that the present Australian framework would appear to impose significant limits on the medical uses of genetic technology and, in this context, would seem to reflect many of the principles that were articulated by the House of Lords in Quintavalle.