Regulating Assisted Reproduction

By Dresser, Rebecca | The Hastings Center Report, November 2000 | Go to article overview

Regulating Assisted Reproduction


Dresser, Rebecca, The Hastings Center Report


As the twentieth century comes to a close, this country's laissez-faire approach to assisted reproduction is under attack. References to the "Wild West" of infertility treatment are common. With each high-profile incident --advertisements offering huge sums to Ivy League students providing eggs for infertile couples, the release of new statistics on multiple births to women undergoing infertility treatment, gametes and embryos accidentally or intentionally given to the wrong patients, and the first birth following posthumous sperm retrieval--come calls for greater regulation of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). But recent events in California reveal how difficult regulation can be.

The California Bill

Always a trend-setter, California has attempted to address a few of the hot-button areas in ART. In September of this year, the state legislature approved a bill targeting information disclosure and quality control. The bill directed the state health department to prepare a plain-language document explaining the risks associated with the drugs and hormones used in ART and the implantation of multiple embryos. The bill also required physicians to provide the document to patients and made failure to comply with this and other provisions unprofessional conduct, which is a criminal violation in California.

Other parts of the bill addressed egg donation. The bill directed physicians to give women considering donation written information on the risks presented by drugs, hormones, and egg retrieval procedures. It also directed state health department officials to consider, in consultation with outside experts, whether to set lifetime limits on the number of egg donations an individual may make and on the compensation an egg donor may receive. It required physician specialty certification by a medical board and tissue bank licensing as well.[1]

Initially, the bill was much more ambitious. An earlier version contained a provision requiring group insurance plans and health maintenance organizations to include in their basic benefit packages coverage for in vitro fertilization (IVF). At one point, the bill prohibited women from donating eggs more than four times, compensation of more than $5,000 to egg donors, and compensation based on a donor's physical or psychological characteristics. Earlier drafts also directed the state health department to establish a donor registry. Under this proposal, physicians would have had to report certain information about each donation, including the amount of compensation provided. In turn, department officials would be required to tell physicians how many times a woman had already donated. Early drafts directed physicians to supply more detailed written information to IVF patients as well, including information on the optimal number of embryos for implantation into women in different age groups and the possibility that patients would face a decision about whether to abort one or more fetuses.

According to a legislative summary, state senator Tom Haydn introduced the bill because "doctors with no expertise are advertising as infertility doctors and charging exorbitant fees to people who are often desperate for a child." Haydn expressed concern that consumers are not told about risks and that "traditional private quality control mechanisms," such as insurance restrictions and malpractice suits, fail to apply to many ART procedures. But while California legislators shared some of Haydn's concerns, the final version of the bill was more modest than Haydn's initial proposal. Moreover, Governor Gray Davis refused to sign the final bill, stating that the department of health was preparing guidelines on informing ART patients and that licensing would be too financially burdensome for tissue banks.[2]

Existing Oversight

It is not as if infertility clinics are completely on their own. Federal law requires IVF programs to report treatment success rates and other statistics to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which publishes the data annually. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Regulating Assisted Reproduction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.