The US President's Council on Bioethics has approved the wording of its latest draft version of its recommendations on assisted reproductive technologies. The recommendations were originally released in draft form in November 2003 and form part of the Council's continuing project on 'US Biotechnology and Public Policy and the Biotechnologies Touching the Beginnings of Human Life'. The project, which began over a year ago, looks at a wide range of issues in assisted reproduction 'from consumer protection to research regulation'.
The Council has called for a nationwide ban on reproductive procedures that it has termed 'radical' but, says the Washington Post, has 'stopped short' of recommending that assisted reproduction should be broadly regulated.
The Council's draft calls for fertility service providers to provide increased information about the risks and costs of fertility treatment faced by patients. It also recommends that a federally-funded study of children born from assisted reproduction treatments should be carried out. 'Radical' procedures that should be banned by Congress, according to the Council, include the creation of human-animal chimeras, transferring IVF embryos to the womb for purposes other than reproduction, creating embryos from fetal cells and gestation of human embryos in animals.
However, the latest draft has dropped recommendations that were previously included, for example that the government tracks all human embryos created in fertility clinics to determine whether they were used to create babies, stored for later use or donated for research purposes. Also removed are provisions for monitoring the health of IVF babies when they are one year old, proposals that would have restricted gamete donation and surrogacy and references to embryos as 'children-to-be'.
Sean Tipton, from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, said that there is 'a lot to like' in the new report, which is expected to be finalised and sent to the President in April.