Scope and guidelines

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BioPolicyWiki is intended to serve as a comprehensive on-line guide to laws and policies governing the use of human genetic and reproductive technologies throughout the world.

We focus initially on practices at the intersection of human genetic and reproductive biotechnologies whose use, development, or commercialization have been controversial in recent years. These include reproductive and research cloning, inheritable genetic modification, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, sex selection, the use of human eggs for research and reproduction, and gestational surrogacy. These are shown on the practices and technologies page, and are included in the summary tables.

We have chosen not to include detailed information on policies concerning stem cell research at this time, as many websites already contain comprehensive summaries of stem cell policies throughout the world.

BioPolicyWiki currently focuses on national laws and on national policies having the effect of law. For countries with federal systems, information on laws in provinces or other jurisdictions below the national level can be entered in the narrative sections of each country page. However, the summary tables display the status of national laws and polices only.

At this time BioPolicyWiki focuses on officially established laws and policies, and doesn’t attempt to give a full account of the state of genetic and reproductive practices per se. A given country might lack laws or policies addressing a particular procedure, yet that procedure might nonetheless be widely available. Similarly, BioPolicyWiki does not at this time systematically display information on the prevalence of practices explicitly in violation of laws or policies that do exist. Finally, BioPolicyWiki not does at this time give a full account of guidelines adopted by professional and other non-governmental entities that seek to regulate themselves. Information on these topics can be seen on several comprehensive web-based inventories.

We hope to expand the topics covered by BioPolicyWiki in the future. Contributors are invited to contact us with your suggestions.

BioPolicyWiki will present information about national and international policies in an objective manner. It is not a forum for debate on the merits of these policies.