How best to govern the field of assisted reproductive technologies? As UK and US authorities utilise different approaches, will the disparate structures and missions of these two bodies result in significantly different answers?
In the past few decades, technologically advanced, democratic societies have struggled with the question of how best to govern the field of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) embody two approaches that highlight the degree of diversity in answering this question. While British politicians fashioned the HFEA as a statutory authority built upon ideals of deliberative democracy, the US has avoided federal regulations on ART, leaving the ASRM - a professional self-regulating society - with the sole responsibility for producing guidelines. Both bodies, however, utilize a deliberative committee to debate and determine rules for ART. Drawing on interviews with committee members of the HFEA and ASRM, this talk will focus on opening these largely opaque deliberative spaces. When examining ethical arguments for and against certain procedures, what reasons do members consider to be "good" reasons, and how do they legitimate such judgements? How do members conceive of the general public and how does this conception affect the role of public perspectives in deliberations and final decisions? Perhaps most importantly, do the disparate structures and missions of these two bodies result in significantly different answers to these questions?