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Pre-AHR2004 embryo donation limbo


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#1 Rick

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 02:38 AM

Hi Sherry. I have another question if you don't mind.

In 2000 we created 11 embryos and put 6 (or 5) into storage. In 2002 or 2003 we donated the embryos to research (prior to this we were informed in writing that due to the genetic risk factors of the embryos they weren't eligible for transfer to anyone else). A couple of years ago we inquired about the research results (assuming them to have been destroyed through research). We discovered they had not been used and were still stored.

The creation, storage, and donation happened before the AHR 2004 but as far as I know the embryos are still frozen. In your opinion:

1/ Are there any disclosure requirements/obligations in effect regrading the ongoing (or final) status of these embryos?
2/ Is it reasonable for us to expect some reporting?
3/ Is there any timeframe in effect for how long they can be stored without being used for the intended purpose?
4/ In theory (not saying we would) can we as the donors legally rescind the donation? In other words, take back control/possession?

We have great respect and trust for the individual(s) who embarked on this research endeavour, however I don't think those individuals are in control anymore. We're more curious than anything, but the more time that gets added to this uncertainty the less right it feels. If we don't have any right to information then best we stay away and not meddle. But if we do it would be good to know the parameters to which we can request disclosure.

Thanks for any light you can shed on this.

#2 SherryLevitan

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 10:32 AM

Great question, Rick. It's so complicated that I'm having flashbacks to Law School exams!

There are a number of different ways to look at this issue, and one of the great lawyers with whom I worked as a young associate, would first ask you what you want the answer to be! If I was representing the clinic, I might have a slightly different view than if a client had posed this question to me.

I think we can use Section 8 of the AHRA to help us here. We could certainly argue that you still have the right to withdraw your consent to the donation to research and take back the embryos. Once you do that, you would be in control again. However, there is nothing in law that gives the clinic the obligation to report to you or to use the embryos within a certain time frame. If you do decide to withdraw your consent, you must do it in writing to the clinic, and it should be signed by both you and your spouse.

#3 Rick

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 05:05 PM

Thanks Sherry. I can appreciate there are a few angles. It's dragging on so long, not sure i like this never never plan..