Excluding indigenous bioethical concerns when regulating frozen embryo storage: An Aotearoa New Zealand case study
Springer Science and Business Media LLC -- Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online
DOI 10.1016/j.rbms.2019.01.001
  1. bioethics
  2. embryos
  3. cryopreservation
  4. indigenous
  5. Aotearoa/New Zealand

This article undertakes a close reading of the parliamentary debates associated with the topic of embryo cryopreservation in Aotearoa New Zealand. From our critical readings, we argue that there is a lack of transparency over the ethical reasons for enforcing a maximum storage limit. We demonstrate that arguments for the retention of this limit are associated (in New Zealand) with arguments based upon ‘build-up avoidance’ and ‘conflict avoidance’ as social goods based on Pākehā [New Zealander of European descent] cultural world views rather than identifiable universal ethical principles. We illustrate that the avoidance of embryo accumulation and related conflict was only achieved by the denial of indigenous spiritual and cultural concerns, while also shifting the ethical burdens of disposition on to clinic staff and those members of the public who protested against enforced cryopreserved embryo disposal. The Pākehā cultural concept of ‘tidy housekeeping’ emerges as a presumed ethical and social good in the New Zealand situation. This is despite abundant literature documenting the suffering created through forced decision-making upon disposition.