The OPECST report on the law of bioethics

Publié le 30 Nov, 2008
The report of the Parliamentary Office for Scientific and Technological Assessment (OPECST) written by the deputies Jean-Sébastien Vialatte (UMP) and Alain Claeys (PS) is aimed to make the Members of Parliament think about the challenges of the revision of the law of bioethics. 
Towards a framework law?
Considering that the revision of this law is heavy and compatible with difficulty with the rapidity of scientific advances, they advocate an evolution towards “a framework law which expresses the great principles and the prohibitions, but does not mention the technicality“. This framework law would be assessed each year by the Agency of Biomedicine and the OPECST, “which could allow a bigger reactivity” according to Alain Claeys. 
Access to the MTP
On the question of the medically assisted fertilisation, the OPECST proposes not to reserve these techniques to “stable” couples which have at least two years of common live, “in order to take into account the evolution of the society“. The report proposes to open the MTP to single women, with a psychological follow-up and recommends a deep debate for its access to homosexual couples.
Removal of anonymity?
The reports advocates also that children born through artificial insemination with donor may know their origins, under some conditions.
Post-mortem implantation
The rapporteurs suggest authorising a woman to use her frozen embryos after the death of her husband, with her husband’s written agreement, after a three to six month period after the death and with a psychological follow-up of the mother.
On the question of the surrogate motherhood, the report is more reserved, because “the desire to have a child is not sufficient“.
Research on embryo
The research on human embryonic stem cells is one the major challenges of the revision of the law and the reports defends a scheme of controlled authorisation; it specifies that the “researches on stem cells fertilize mutually; without the researches on human embryonic stem cells, those very promising on IPS cells could not have been possible“. 
Cloning and hybrid embryos
Finally, the MPs pronounce in favour of the authorisation of therapeutic cloning “subject to availability of human oocytes“. They want also a debate on inter-species “therapeutic” cloning, (in other words on the creation of hybrid embryos, for example man-animal, as this has just been authorised in England), “subject to prohibit the use of human oocytes and the implantation of the cybrid“.

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