Although medically assisted reproduction has been widely practiced in Belgium, it took decades before a majority was found to adopt a law to regulate this field. The new law recognises different family forms and a diversity of ethical positions. It regulates four main substantive elements: the disposition of embryos created in the context of assisted reproduction, the general rules (anonymous, free and voluntary) governing gamete and embryo donation, specific applications of assisted reproduction like post-mortem reproduction and finally the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis for HLA typing. Beside the substantive topics, the law contains a number of rules of a more practical nature: the need for a contract, a maximum storage period, the right of physicians to refuse treatment on the basis of conscientious objections and the procedure that has to be followed when a patient is refused. © 2007 Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
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