Genetics and the Control of Human Reproduction


Advances in infertility treatments, assisted conception and genetics include fertilization in vitro, microinjection of sperm into eggs, use of donor gametes and cloning. These technological advances have raised moral, ethical and human rights issues about the regulation of embryo research, reproductive and therapeutic cloning, and stem cell and infertility treatment, in the context of national and international legislation.

Keywords: assisted conception; cloning; stem cells; reproductive ethics; regulation


Campbell KH, McWhir J, Ritchie WA and Wilmut I (1996) Sheep cloned by nuclear transfer from a cultured cell line. Nature 380: 64–66.

Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (2001) Code of Practice, 5th edn. London, UK: HMSO.

Kant I (1959) Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals. New York, NY: Macmillan.

UK Parliament (1990) Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 1990. London, UK: HMSO. ISBN 0‐10‐543790‐0.

UK Parliament (1998) Human Rights Act. London, UK: HMSO. ISBN 0‐10‐544298‐4.

Further Reading

Deech R (1999) Aims of the HFEA: past and future. Human Fertility 2: 118–121.

Freed CR (2002) Will embryonic stem cells be a useful sources of dopamine neurons for transplant into patients with Parkinson's disease? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 99: 1755–1757.

Human Genetics Advisory Commission and Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (1998) Cloning Issues in Reproduction Science and Medicine. London, UK: Department of Trade and Industry.

International Working Group on Preimplantation Genetics (2001) Tenth anniversary of preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 18: 64–70.

Kirejczyk M (1999) Parliamentary cultures and human embryos: the Dutch and British debates compared. Social Studies Science 29: 889–912.

McLean S (1997) Consent and the law: review of the current provisions of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 1990 for the UK Health Ministers. Human Reproduction Update 3: 593–621.

Nuffield Council on Bioethics (2001) Stem Cell Therapy: The Ethical Issues. Discussion paper. London, UK: Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Orellana C (2002) Germany's Parliament approves imports of embryonic stem cells. Lancet 359: 506.

Pederson RA (1999) Embryonic stem cells for medicine. Scientific American 280: 68–73.

Shiels PG, Kind AJ, Campbell KH, et al. (1999) Analysis of telomere length in cloned sheep. Nature 399: 316–317.

Web Links

Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority. Information about fertility treatments and success rates in UK, public consultations on PDG, sex selection, cloning and embryo research

Human Genetics Commission. Outcome of the Joint HGC/HFEA Public Consultation on PGD. Website which showing public consultation on genetic issues which have impact on fertility. This website also gives information about reproduction, fertility and genetic testing for a variety of genetic disorders including risk of late onset genetic disorders http:/

UN General Assembly. Human Rights of UN charter including right to marry and have a family and US introduction at UN of suggestion of ban on human cloning

United States Library of Congress. Information about US decisions and legislation which allow comparison with those in UK, Europe

Wellcome Trust. Public perspectives on human cloning. Excellent account of public understanding of science, focus groups, public consultations and publication of findings

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How to Cite close
Gosden, Christine M(Jul 2006) Genetics and the Control of Human Reproduction. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0005218]