Brazil was surveyed by the students of Bryant University, RI, USA. Last update: March 2009. Little remarks have been added. Any peer review of data is welcome.
Monitoring freedom of research and cure in BRAZIL Table of content: A. Artificial reproduction technologies (ART) B. Research with human embryonic stem cells (hESC) C. End-of-life decisions D. Abortion and contraception A. Artificial reproduction technologies (ART) Brazil is known to be a very religious country that puts a lot of stock into how the church views policies that are put into place. The use of Artificial Reproduction Technologies (ART) is a touchy topic, not only in Brazil, but in most Latin American countries. In Brazil ART is offered but only to married couples or to those couples who are in very stable relationships thus limiting the availability of ART to the country as a whole. With the sheer size of Brazil there are areas that ART isn’t available, also most public hospitals do not offer ART, and those that do are very limited in what that offer. Prenatal Genetic Diagnosis is permissible but it is mostly only available in large urban areas, and it is very expensive. Some persons question allowing PGD because even if a couple can afford PGD sometimes they can’t afford to care for a child who is born with disabilities and they may then turn to illegal abortions to terminate the pregnancy. It is permissible to cryopreserve oocytes, sperm and embryos in Brazil, however there are few places that offer this technology. Oocyte and sperm donation are both permitted in Brazil, but few people are open to using this as a way to conceive a child. Those who use these methods are very secretive about telling people or even their child that this was the way they were born. There was a regulation implemented in Brazil, the CMF regulation, which protects the identity of donors. Surrogacy is allowed, but is only allowed if a relative is willing to undergo the procedure. Also the ART center is not allowed to be involved in any financial agreement around the surrogacy. B. Research with human embryonic stem cells (hESC) As of 2005 Brazil has taken initiative in South America to begin research with stems cells. Scientists have been working with adult stem cells as well as embryonic stem cells. They are only in the primary stages of experimentation because they have been held back by a petition trying to ban the research. The petition was filed by the members of the Catholic Church and -Attorney General Claudio Fontelles, stating that it was “unconstitutional.�? 6 of the 11 Supreme Court Justices upheld the decision and turned down the petition, allowing scientists to continue their work. The restriction of the law only allow them to use embryos that have been frozen for at least three years. They must also have the full consent of the parents in order to use the embryos. Overall, we can conclude that Brazil has the potential to be at the forefront of stem cell research given its current position. They are however, not permitted to clone or create stem cells for their research which may slow their process down slightly. (Remark: quoting a UNESCO Report of IBC on Human Cloning and International Governance: “The Brazilian Supreme Court upheld this legislation allowing stemcell research by a decision of 29 May 2008. However, research cloning is excluded as the human cloning prohibition covers both reproductive and therapeutic hypothesis (Art. 3)�?). C. End-of-life decisions Physicians are required to respect the patient’s refusal of life sustaining treatment. In Brazil the order does not need to be written in order to be enforced. Advanced directives are also enforceable. Both passive and active euthanasia are permissible. Active euthanasia has only recently become permissible in Brazil. Physician assisted suicide is not legal in Brazil. The Catholic Church is very much against physician assisted suicide. D. Abortion and contraception Abortion is a hot topic in Brazil. The country of Brazil is predominantly catholic. The laws regarding abortion have been greatly affected by the religious views of the Catholic Church. Abortions are illegal. Medical practitioners may induce an abortion if the pregnancy threatens the safety of the pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape. Ru-486 is unavailable in Brazil. This method of abortion is not permissible. A wide variety of contraceptives are legal including the two main pill types, an injection, a skin implant and an IUD. Many Brazilians also use sterilization as a means of contraception. Prescriptions are not necessary and some state run clinics give out free contraception. The morning after pill is available to all women without a prescription. The morning after pill is in fact available to minors. The government gives the morning after pill out free of charge. This is because teen pregnancies rates are high in Brazil. The Catholic Church has clashed with the Brazilian government in regards to the availability of various contraceptives especially the morning after pill which prevents the embryo from implanting. This is because the Catholic Church defines an embryo as life. Missing info on: E. Therapeutic uses of narcotic drugs F. Pain treatments