Bioethics Blogs

Quebec’s Assisted Human Reproduction Program

Pamela White provides a brief English-language summary of the recommendations of the recently released report of the Quebec Commission à la santé et au bien-être. 

On June 6, 2014, the Quebec Commission à la santé et au bien-être released its review of Quebec’s assisted human reproduction program. Since 2009, Quebec has offered public funding of assisted reproductive services. At the heart of the Commission’s report are twelve recommendations, several of which target measures designed to address psychosocial and ethical issues. Others aim to reduce costs, implement health surveillance, and—similar to the process in place in Britain—implement parental suitability screening. At the same time, the Commission rebuffs the model of a centralised governance body as has been established in the UK and France, instead recommending an ostensibly more inclusive and flexible permanent multi-disciplinary committee and Ethics table. The report also addresses the matter of abandoned embryos and recommends consultation on surrogacy.

The first section of the report explains how the Commission undertook the program review. It notes that the population is divided between Quebecers proud of the province’s non-discriminatory delivery of assisted reproduction services and concerned about its continuation. A detailed legal, economic and social portrait of Quebec’s program together with an assessment of its health impacts and costs situates the existing program and sets the stage for the Commission’s recommendations. The first part of the report alone is worth the read. The Commission should be commended for its fulsome program and legal review, its focus on evidence based decision-making, and emphasis on maternal and child health surveillance.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.