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11 - The Legacy of the Warnock Report

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2021

Edward S. Dove
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Niamh Nic Shuibhne
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

This chapter considers the legacy of the 1984 Warnock Report, and its continued impact on the regulation of assisted conception, embryo research and surrogacy in the UK. On the one hand, it is extraordinary that a regulatory system grounded in recommendations made only six years after the birth of the first ‘test tube baby’ has stood the test of time so well. The HFEA regulatory model – in which an ‘arm’s-length body’ issues licences, backed up by criminal sanctions, and in which primary legislation is supplemented by regularly updated codes of practice – has proved remarkably resilient, and has since been used to regulate other areas of medical practice. On the other hand, there may be disadvantages in trying to regulate a twenty-first-century industry using tools that were designed for a very different age. The chapter looks at two developments that the Warnock Report did not anticipate and hence did not make provision for in its recommendations: the emergence of a lucrative market in fertility services; and the increasing acceptance that fertility treatment should be available to would-be parents who do not conform with the ‘two-parent family, with both father and mother’ model.

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Chapter
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Law and Legacy in Medical Jurisprudence
Essays in Honour of Graeme Laurie
, pp. 232 - 249
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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