Reforming Fertility Law: Consent and Posthumous Conception

Fri May 10 2024 at 09:30 am to 04:00 pm

The Birmingham Conference & Events Centre | Birmingham

Lisa Cherkassky, University of Exeter
Publisher/HostLisa Cherkassky, University of Exeter
A one-day workshop to explore the proposed reform of posthumous conception and consent under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990
About this Event

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority ('the HFE Authority') announced in Spring 2023 that it had opened a long-awaited public consultation on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (‘the 1990 Act’). This was in response to a growing number of landmark cases in which judges had authorised the retrieval, storage and use of reproductive materials for fertility treatment without clear statutory consent.

The HFE Authority suggested an ‘opt-out’ system of consent in its Spring 2023 consultation, akin to the current organ donation system in the UK. This is a controversial suggestion, as it equates to presumed consent to fertility treatment. It may concern for several reasons: personal autonomy may be undermined; the welfare of the posthumously-conceived child is unknown; confidentiality of genetic information may be at risk, and public confidence in the fertility sector could be damaged if we learned that we could use the bodies of incapacitated and deceased patients for their reproductive materials without their knowledge or consent.

This one-day workshop, which is hosted by Lisa Cherkassky, Senior Lecturer in medical law at the University of Exeter, is open to scholars and PGR students with an interest in fertility law (particularly posthumous conception), reproductive rights, and ethics.

This one-day workshop has four objectives:

• To explore the importance of informed consent to fertility treatment and how the landmark cases of Blood (1999), Mr & Mrs M v HFEA (2016), Y v A (2018), Ellie Anderson (2020), Jennings (2022), and Re X (Catastrophic Injury) (2022) might have undermined the authority of the 1990 Act;

• To discuss the Spring 2023 public consultation, which proposed an opt-out system of consent for fertility treatment, and ask how this may undermine patient autonomy and what can we learn from other jurisdictions;

• To hypothesise how this changing area of law can be delivered to law students in a way that is thought-provoking and clear, and to clarify how it relates to other areas of the law curriculum;

• To support research activities between scholars, researchers and PGR students through networking, collaboration, joint peer-reviewed publications, and funded projects, to provide clarity to this area of the law and to properly inform our research-based teaching.

This event is kindly supported by the Society of Legal Scholars, and arranged by Lisa Cherkassky for the University of Exeter.

Event Photos
Event Photos

Event Venue & Nearby Stays

The Birmingham Conference & Events Centre, Hill Street, Birmingham, United Kingdom


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