Some problems challenging the UK's human fertilisation and embryology authority
Pattinson, Shaun D.
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 2005 June; 24(2): 391-401
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (hereafter the HFEA) is a regulatory body facing growing pressures and difficulties. Like any regulatory body, it faces the challenge of regulating with sufficient expertise, legitimacy, and contemporaneity. This challenge is, however, exacerbated by the fact that it seeks to regulate some of the most controversial and rapidly changing technologies of our time. Its decisions and jurisdictional assumptions face increasing challenge. In addition to the multitude of cases brought against it, the HFEA's actions recently led a House of Commons Select Committee to pointedly declare that "democracy is not served by unelected quangos (quasi- autonomous non-governmental organizations) taking decisions on behalf of Parliament". While endorsing the general need to review the legislation under which the HFEA operates (the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990), this paper will argue that the HFEA was correct in interpreting its jurisdiction to encompass the technique used to produce Dolly the sheep. This paper thereby defends the key feature of the approach of the House of Lords in the recent case of R (Bruno Quintavalle on behalf of the ProLife Alliance) v Secretary of State for Health  UKHL 13.
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