IVF Legislation: Error Causes Confidentiality Trap
Lancet. 1991 Dec 7; 338(8780): 1449-1450.
Few Acts of Parliament have been preceded by greater debate than the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990....The main subject matter of this Act was the creation of embryos by in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), and, understandably, concern focused on the morality of IVF and of research on human embryos and on matters such as the disposal of embryos....However, it has been the non-controversial aspects of the Act -- namely, the need to preserve confidentiality and the creation of a statutory licensing authority -- that have caused practical difficulties since the Act came into force on Aug 1 of this year....the most serious problem has been caused by the rigidity of confidentiality requirements in the broadly worded section 33(5) of the Act, coupled with the few defined exceptions specified in section 33(6). The unintended prohibition on disclosure of information in any other situation is unworkable and extends far beyond what is needed to protect patients and those involved in IVF treatment and research programmes.
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