ACART consultation extended

ACART is extending, to the end of September, consultation on its ‘Proposed Guidelines for the Posthumous Use of Gametes, Reproductive Tissue and Stored Embryos’.

The extension to 30 September 2020 recognises the disruption caused by COVID-19 and is to allow interested parties and members of the public sufficient time to consider the guidelines and respond. These guidelines could allow people to use fertility treatment in the event that one of their loved ones dies.

We believe the current Guidelines on the Use, Storage and Disposal of Sperm from a Deceased Man, written in 2000, are out of date and do not address a number of potential fertility treatment options that are now clinically feasible and requested by the public, such as the use of eggs that have been frozen prior to a woman’s death.

ACART is reviewing the current guidelines on posthumous reproduction to take into account sperm, eggs and embryos, rather than only sperm. These existing guidelines apply only to the posthumous use of sperm that was retrieved prior to a man’s death. Relevant issues that the current guidelines do not address include:

  • retrieval and use of eggs from a deceased woman
  • use of stored eggs, after the death of a woman
  • retrieval of sperm from a deceased man
  • retrieval and use of reproductive tissue from a deceased man or woman
  • use of stored embryos after the death of one or both of the gamete providers.

ACART is proposing to expand the scope of the guidelines so that all relevant issues are covered. In particular, ACART believes that new guidelines should address the use of eggs after a woman’s death, and that the legality of retrieving gametes (sperm and eggs) from a deceased person should be clear.

ACART is seeking public feedback on the proposed new guidelines.

To access the full consultation document and provide feedback, please visit the consultation page. The deadline for feedback is 30 September 2020.

About ACART

ACART formulates policy and provides advice to the Minister of Health on assisted reproductive technology in New Zealand. It was established under section 32 of the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004. The Committee is made up of 10 members with Māori, legal, human reproductive service provider, consumer, and researcher, ethics, disability, children, and layperson perspectives.

ACART has two key functions:

  1. to provide independent advice to the Minister of Health
  2. to issue guidelines and provide advice to the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ECART) on procedures and research requiring case by case ethical approval.

ACART also monitors the; (1) application and health outcomes of assisted reproductive procedures and established procedures; and (2) developments in human reproductive research.

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