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MCE1213 - Regulation and ethics in assisted reproductive technologies

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Ms Giuliana Fuscaldo & Dr Sally Catt


Clayton Second semester (extended) 2008 (Day)


This unit examines the role of legislation, regulations and ethics in decision making in clinical human in vitro fertilisation (IVF) practice and research. The organisations structure of human IVF clinics, the audit processes that are essential to the conduct of an efficient IVF program, the international regulations and the laws under which these programs operate, the role of ethics committees in regulating IVF research will be presented and analysed. The ethical issues raised by Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) (embryo experimentation, surrogacy, gamete donation, ovarian transplantation, cloning, ART and single parents) will also be presented. This unit provides essential information about the laws, regulations and ethical framework within which clinicians and scientists involved in these areas must operate. It provides the opportunity to apply this information and for students to begin to formulate an individual framework of ethical decision-making relevant to human IVF. The theoretical and ethical basis of regulation is presented in lectures, tutorials and seminars, and the opportunity to apply and discuss this information is provided by journal articles.


On completion of this unit students will:

  1. possess a sound knowledge and understanding of the international legislation and regulations that apply in clinical human IVF;
  2. show familiarity with the main approaches used to formulate different ethical stances;
  3. demonstrate familiarity with and an ability to analyse ethical issues that can arise in human IVF clinical practice;
  4. be informed about the operation of research ethics committees;
  5. be competent in the critical ethical analysis of case studies relevant to IVF clinical practice;
  6. have begun to devise a consistent individual framework for ethical decision making in clinical human IVF;
  7. have the ability to communicate this knowledge.


Written open book examination (2 hours): 50%
Presentation of journal review: 20%
Essay (2,500 words): 30%

Contact hours

6 weeks (first 5 weeks - two 1-hour lectures, 1-hour tutorial, 1.5-hour seminar, 1.5-hour journal review), 2-hour revision tutorial in week 6

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