Browsing Derby Law School by Subjects
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A gift or a waste? Quintavalle, surplus embryos and the Abortion Act 1967.The destruction of an embryo must be justified in law. This is to prevent frivolous wastage and to show the respect afforded by the Warnock Report (1984). For example, embryonic destruction during pregnancy is underpinned by the Abortion Act 1967, and embryonic destruction during fertility treatment is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. However, following the appeal decision in R (Quintavalle) v Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (and Secretary of State for Health)  2 A.C. 561, embryos can now be created for a bone marrow tissue match to a sick sibling under the Human Fertility and Embryology Act 1990 according to the subjective desires of the mother. This opens the door to the first example of embryonic destruction on unique social-eugenic grounds with no clear lawful justification. It is argued that these embryos should be afforded a unique destruction provision under an amended version of section 1(1)(a) of the Abortion Act 1967 in light of their ‘social-eugenic’ nature. This would protect the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority from accusations of undercover eugenic practices and reinstate the respect shown towards embryos in law.
Quintavalle: The quandry in bioethicsThe case of R. (Quintavalle) v. Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority (and Secretary of State for Health) presents a handful of legal problems. The biggest legal query to arise from the case is the inevitable harvest of babies, toddlers and very young children for their bone marrow. This article unpacks the judicial story behind Quintavalle to reveal how the strict provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 - namely ‘suitable condition’ under schedule 2 paragraph 1(1)(a) and ‘treatment services’ and ‘assisting’ under section 2(1) - were widely misinterpreted to introduce the social selection of embryos into law. The legal loopholes created by the judgment (embryo wastage, welfare, eugenics and the legality of child harvest in particular) are also identified. It will be concluded that screening for a tissue match is social selection despite arguments to the contrary and that parents are not yet entitled in law to harvest a very young child for bone marrow, making the creation of a saviour sibling under the 1990 Act as a result of Quintavalle ultimately futile.
Selecting a disabled embryo can constitute grievous bodily harmThe Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended) in the UK allows parents to select a disabled embryo for implantation as part of fertility treatment services. There was widespread condemnation of a couple in the United States who intentionally conceived two deaf children, and there is evidence to suggest that requests for dwarfism are on the rise. This article suggests that it is an offence against the person to give birth to an intentionally disabled child, and that this is a unique criminal act that can be distinguished from a wrongful life action (rejected in UK law by McKay v Essex Area Health Authority  Q.B. 1166). The components of s.18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 will be explored to prove that should an intentionally disabled child ever come forward, a prosecution may be possible under the criminal law.
Twenty-seven years of controversy: The perils of PGDIt has been 27 years since the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 was passed in the United Kingdom in response to advances in fertility treatment. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis - the screening of embryos for genetic diseases - has led to lengthy ethical debates on sex selection, eugenics, disabilities, saviour siblings, surplus embryos and most recently, adult-onset diseases (the BRCA cancer gene). This article provides an overview of how the law and practice of PGD in the United Kingdom and United States over the last quarter of a century has developed into new ‘branches’ of PGD, and predicts where they may be heading in the future. It concludes that many of the adverse views on PGD are unfounded and that some of these unique branches may develop to accommodate the screening of additional social traits. An underlying conflict between reproductive autonomy and a right to an open future is also rising under the surface to be noted for the future.