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Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology
History of Policy Advisory Committees in New Zealand
Regional ethics committees were established under Area Health Boards in the late 1980's after the Report of the Cervical Cancer Inquiry (the Cartwright Inquiry) concluded that ethical standards "must be applied rigorously to research and treatment protocols on behalf of the patients".
In 1993, it was reported that some regional ethics committees were having difficulty with proposals and protocols from providers of assisted human reproduction ("AHR") services and, given the unique and complex ethical issues associated with AHR, had identified the need for specialist advice in this area. In April 1993, the Minister of Health established the Interim National Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproduction Technologies (“INECART”) to provide guidance to health and disability ethics committees on ethical issues relating to AHR and advice to the Minister of Health on AHR issues.
In March 1995, INECART was disbanded and the National Ethics Committee on Assisted Human Reproduction ("NECAHR") was established by the Minister of Health under section 46 of the Health and Disability Services Act 1993. NECAHR's primary role was to process specific applications for new AHR treatment and research. In addition to this appraisal role, NECAHR was to provide advice to the Minister of Health on assisted human reproduction issues and to develop guidelines for fertility providers on ethical issues relating to assisted human reproduction.
In November 2004, the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004 (“the HART Act”) was passed. The HART Act establishes an advisory committee and an ethics committee. These two committees replace NECAHR.
Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (“ACART”)
is established to provide advice to the Minister of Health on issues in relation to assisted reproductive procedures and human reproductive research. ACART is also responsible for providing guidelines to the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (“ECART”). ECART reviews applications to carry out human reproductive research and assisted reproductive procedures that are not established procedures.
Minister of Health