10 major changes to ethical guidelines on assisted reproductive technology

Ongoing controversies around the rapid developments in IVF, sex selection and surrogacy have prompted the NHMRC to issue new ethics advice for assisted reproductive technology.

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These are some of the major changes in the ethical guidelines that have been updated for the first time since 2007:

  1. Reaffirm ban on sex selection for non-medical purposes
  2. Stricter criteria for out-of pocket expenses payable to egg donors to prevent indirect commercial trade
  3. Imported gametes/embryos must not be purchased overseas and donor details must be made available to offspring
  4. Ban on clinics from accepting donations of gametes with conditions on use by particular ethnic or social groups (‘unknown directed donation’)
  5. Clinicians must not facilitate commercial surrogacy but may provide information to people who have made an autonomous decision to do this overseas
  6. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis may be used to select against conditions that would severely limit quality of life of the person who would be born — but with assessment on a case-by-case basis
  7. Fertility clinics must take greater steps to ensure appropriate storage and identification of gametes and embryos as well as arrangements for discarding
  8. Lifting of five-year maximum storage period for gametes and embryos
  9. Anonymity: gametes donated before 2004 can only be used if donor consents to disclosure of details
  10. New guidelines on the collection and storage of a person’s gonadal tissue and/or gametes to help them retain their ability to procreate (‘fertility preservation’)

More information:

NHMRC updated guidelines