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By Darrell M. West (auth.)

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Additional info for Biotechnology Policy across National Boundaries: The Science-Industrial Complex

Sample text

Indeed, the legislation explicitly prohibited interference with or oversight of clinical practices. Policymakers believed that doctors are the experts in assisted reproductive technology, and the public sector has no reason to regulate these kinds of medical practices. As pointed out by ethicist Cynthia Cohen, the absence of strict in vitro regulations is unusual because most medical facilities and other procedures involving surgery face strict rules. Clinical labs are regulated, as are hospitals, outpatient clinics, and blood banks.

Around half of the states also require that a husband give his written permission before a married female can accept donated sperm. Some states ban the sale of human embryos. Others have placed legal restrictions on intermediary “baby brokers” who match eggs with sperm. 19 In 2003, there was some trepidation within the fertility industry when the President’s Council on Bioethics began to discuss possible guidelines. The fear was that the Bush administration and their allies in the “religious right” might curtail the laissez-faire tradition that has existed for assisted reproduction in the United States.

Economic barriers to trade between nations were reduced, and global commerce was emphasized. Nations that had natural advantages in some areas specialized in those products, and service delivery and manufacturing migrated to areas of greatest efficiency. Market forces decided which countries dominated particular areas. This new global competition was designed to ease trade and allow all countries to deliver benefits to their citizens. The impact on biotechnology of the public sector’s diminished role was immediate and direct.

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