Policy Design for Human Embryo Research in Canada: A History (Part 1 of 2)
Baylis, Françoise, 1961-
Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 2009 March; 6(1): 109-122
This article is the first in a two-part review of policy design for human embryo research in Canada. In this article we explain how this area of research is circumscribed by law promulgated by the federal Parliament (the Assisted Human Reproduction Act) and by guidelines issued by the Tri-Agencies (the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and Updated Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research). In so doing, we provide the first comprehensive account of the rules currently governing human embryo research in Canada. In this article we also provide a chronological description of relevant policy initiatives and outcomes related to these policy instruments over the past 20 years, with particular attention to public involvement in policy design. This sets the stage for the second article (scheduled to appear in vol. 6 issue 3) in which we critically analyse the history of policy design for human embryo research in Canada, applying a typology of modes of public consultation developed by Eric Montpetit. Our goal is to carefully explain the various episodes of policy development and their corresponding outcomes, in order to more effectively address emerging questions about the legitimacy of future policy initiatives for human embryo research in Canada.
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