Dalhousie Law Journal


royal commission, reproductive technologies, assisted conception, prenatal diagnosis, embryo, research, genetic technology, life, mandate


Having just finished reading Proceed with Care: Final Report of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, I find that the questions I am left with pertain less to the technologies themselves, although I certainly do have those, and more to the role and effectiveness of royal commissions generally, and this Royal Commission specifically. I am left wondering, Was it worth it? What really was the point of it all? How could we expect any group of seven-or was it nine? well, ultimately five people-to respond with depth and substance to a mandate that required them to "inquire into and report on current and potential medical and scientific developments related to new reproductive technologies, considering in particular their social, ethical, health, research, legal and economic implications and the public interest, recommending what polices and safeguards should be applied"? At bottom, this was somewhat akin to asking the Commissioners to report back on the meaning of life. The technologies under examination involve assisted conception, prenatal diagnosis, embryo research and genetic technologies. These technologies deal with the creation of life. The values, ideologies and interests involved flow from our definitions of "life," from what we see as important in and about "life."