Frozen Embryo Rights Taken To Court

by LAURA SPERANZA ,  The Daily Telegraph | 2013-01-21

Low-cost Tribunal for IVF patients

New South Wales law experts take their request to the government to establish a low-cost tribunal where IVF patients who are encountering problems with the storage or use of their frozen embryos can get help.

infertility IVFThe University of Technology’s Law researchers in Sydney conducted the country's first study into the legislation and policies surrounding IVF. They said families had currently no authority to turn to if they experienced a problem with their fertility clinic.

There are thousands of Australian babies born each year using IVF and lead researcher Professor Jenni Millbank said her study of 400 IVF patients found many families were not informed on rights over the storage, use, donation or disposal of frozen embryos.

An IVF patient said there is a lack of clarity between what individual clinics decide is their internal policy for how they want to treat things and what is Law.

In a recent article, the Sunday Telegraph revealed the destruction of some hundred healthy frozen embryos because patients were led to believe the embryo’s viability was of only five years.

A government-funded, low-cost tribunal and availability of mediation would have the scope of assisting families who had experienced disputes with their IVF clinics over the future of their frozen embryos, Professor Millbank said.

There was also a need for an independent service for those wanting to donate their frozen embryos to science matching to donors and recipients.

The fact of the matter is that when there is an issue with the clinic, patients have nowhere to go, said the professor, furthermore, most New South Wales clinics did not facilitate donation, leading to many embryos needles destruction.

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