Browsing Derby Law School by Subjects
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Children and the doctrine of substituted judgement.The common law in the United Kingdom dictates that children facing medical treatment should be treated in accordance with their best interests. The Children Act 1989 also demands that the welfare of the child is paramount. However, in light of the creation of saviour siblings after the case of Quintavalle, it is disputed that the donor child is treated in accordance with his/her best interests when undergoing a non-therapeutic procedure for the benefit of another. The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) can, for example, validate a bone marrow harvest on a child created specifically for harvest without the consent of the High Court. The doctrine of substituted judgement was developed in the United States to substitute a previously competent adult decision, but it is proposed that parents of saviour siblings are reviving it in a modified form to install a speculative psychological benefit into the saviour child to satisfy the criteria for a harvest in common law. As a result, there is a glaring discrepancy between the objective jurisdiction of the courts and the validation of non-therapeutic harvesting procedures upon children by the HTA, opening the door to potential legal action.
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.
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.
The wrong harvest: The law on saviour siblingsThe momentous case of Quintavalle supported the creation of saviour siblings in English law. The House of Lords confirmed that embryos can be selected for social purposes according to the desires of the mother. This article discusses the implications of that decision for the welfare of saviour siblings and argues that harvesting of young saviour siblings is difficult to justify under the current fragmentary law.