World Congress

for freedom of scientific research

Monitoring freedom of research and cure in New South Wales (Australia)

09/23/2010

New South Wales was surveyed by the students of Bryant University, RI, USA. Last update: March 2009. Any peer review of data is welcome

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) Australia was one of the pioneering countries when it comes to the use of Artificial Reproductive Technology. They were one of the first countries to embark into this realm of research. The law here reflects the general desire of the public to have assisted reproduction and the laws are very liberal when it comes to the use of these technologies today. The idea of artificial insemination is one which is in embraced not only in New South Wales, but throughout most of Australia. They permit for the donation and for the cryopreservation of sperm and oocyte. It is also permissible to have Prenatal Genetic Diagnosis done. This is allowed for any woman who is pregnant, where as in the past it was only a choice for women over 35 that were at risk for problems during and/or arising from their pregnancy. The only facet that is not almost completely free is the idea of surrogacy. In NSW there is no specific legislation that governor’s surrogacy, therefore surrogacy agreements are not enforceable. B. Research with human embryonic stem cells (hESC) Australia, more specifically New South Wales, has been very liberal towards the issue of stem cell research. In more recent years New South Wales, along with other section of Australia, is striving to be at the forefront of stem cell research in the world. Human stem cell research is permissible in New South Wales under certain conditions. One must acquire a license in order to participate in stem cell research, which requires facilities to pass and adhere to certain regulations. Funding and grants for stem cell research are also most likely required because it gets far too expensive to be funded independently. In order to receive grants companies must fill out an extensive request form followed by strict guidelines. There are a number of stem cell lines that these companies can experiment with. The source couples must give consent and scientists are not allowed to use donor animal eggs for use in their experiments. Even though stem cell research is a hot topic issue in political arena concerning the ethical issues involved, Australia has taken the initiative to experiment with stem cells in order to develop cures to a great deal of illnesses and injuries. C. End-of-life decisions As far as the end of life decisions made between patients and physicians in Australia, there are a couple of areas where the patient has more freedom and areas where the patients’ freedom is restricted. As for the question whether or not the patient can refuse life-sustaining treatment he or she absolutely can unless they are incompetent to make that decision on their own. That goes for passive euthanasia also. The patient is free to make that decision as long as he is competent to do so. As for active euthanasia and assisted suicide the freedom of both the doctor and the patient is restricted due to laws. They are not allowed to make follow through with these act. The use of advance directives is generally accepted by the general population but has not been passed through legislation in Australia so there is still some restriction on the freedom to use advance directives. D. Abortion and contraception Australia, specifically New South Wales, is highly restrictive in regards to abortions. In order to receive an abortion women are required to meet a strict standard. Two medical practitioners must determine that the abortion is necessary. In order to perform an abortion the medical practitioner must believe that the pregnancy would risk the health and well-being of mother or that the child would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped. Ru-486, which is an abortion inducing drug, is not currently available because it has not been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration even though it is legal. New South Wales encourages the use of contraceptives. A wide range of contraceptives are available including the two main pill types, an injection, a skin implant and an IUD. A prescription is required in order to obtain a contraceptive. The morning-after pill is available to all women without a prescription. *(New South Wales 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) Missing info on: E. Therapeutic uses of narcotic drugs; F. Pain treatments

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