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Everything and Nothing: Regulating Embryo Research in Canada

Posted by nte on February 17, 2017 in In Print

Cattapan, A., & Snow, D. (2017). Everything and nothing: regulating embryo research in Canada. New Genetics and Society, (online pre-publication, 17 Feb 2017), 1-23.


This article examines how medical and scientific professionals experience and engage with the governance of embryo research in Canada. Drawing on the history of embryo regulation in Canada and the findings of a survey conducted with lab directors in Canadian fertility clinics, we identify a disjuncture between the rules established by legislation, regulations, and research ethics guidelines and the real-life experiences of professionals in the field. This disjuncture, we argue, is the result of both the absence of implementation mechanisms that would give substance to the governing framework, as well as an inability on the part of medical and scientific professionals to engage in robust self-regulation. Overall, we demonstrate that in an ethically charged and highly technical area of policy-making like embryonic research, clarity about the roles and responsibilities of government and professionals in policy-making and implementation is critical to effective governance.