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Public comment sought: NHMRC ethical guidelines on Assisted Reproductive Technology

Summary media release information
Date: 
12 March 2014
Type: 
NHMRC Media Release
Contact for further information: 
Alexis Cooper, 0422 008 512, alexis.cooper@nhmrc.gov.au

The National Health and Medical Research Council has today opened public consultation on the clinical practice section (Part B) of the Ethical Guidelines on the Use of Assisted Reproductive Technology in Clinical Practice and Research, 2007 (ART guidelines).

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is the application of laboratory or clinical techniques to human eggs, sperm or embryos for the purposes of reproduction.

Part B of the ART guidelines provides ethical guidance on topics such as:

  • Use and storage of human eggs, sperm and embryos
  • Techniques for the selection of embryos
  • Information giving, counselling and consent

Feedback received from public consultation will inform the review of Part B of the ART guidelines by NHMRC’s Australian Health Ethics Committee. No changes to the guidelines have been proposed as yet, and further public consultation will be undertaken should a revised Part B be drafted.

NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson acknowledged that assisted reproductive technology is a topic of interest and importance to the community.

‘Many Australians hold strong views on the issues covered by these guidelines, which is why we are seeking feedback from the community,’ Professor Anderson said.

‘Public consultation will help determine the usefulness of our current ethical guidelines, and advise on their suitability regarding changes in technology and community sentiment.’

NHMRC’s ART guidelines underpin the regulation of ART practice within Australia. The Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee requires clinics to comply with NHMRC’s ART guidelines as part of its accreditation criteria.

The deadline for submissions to the public consultation is 30 April 2014. Further information is available on the NHMRC Public Consultation website.

Page reviewed: 12 March, 2014