Newsletter from the Swedish National Council on Medical Ethics, June 2011

The Swedish National Council on Medical Ethics is an advisory board to the Government and the parliament on ethical issues raised by scientific and technological advances in biomedicine. Various Council activities, opinions, conferences, etc. are presented in the newsletter.

Current Activities

Opinion on a coherent regulation concerning legal guardians for patients not able to consent

The need for a coherent regulation has for a long time been pointed out by the Council and other parties. Every day, decisions concerning these patient groups, are made on uncertain legal grounds. The problem concerns all, as anyone`s capacity to consent can be affected by an accident or illness.

A letter has been submitted to the government in June, including a call for coordination in order to create a coherent regulation concerning legal guardians for patients not able to consent.

The first comprehensive approach regarding screening

At the conference arranged by the Council April 14, ethical aspects on different types of screening were highlighted and discussed as well as the importance of national coordination.

A conference report will be published on the homepage this autumn.

On the agenda

Assisted reproduction

The Council is discussing different methods of assisted reproduction and is considering its earlier statements. The research findings in this field has led to new methods of treatment and the political and societal debate in Sweden is more permissive than in the early 90s. In recent years the regulation has been questioned and demands for the possibility to inseminate for single parents, surrogacy pregnancy and embryo donation has been raised.

In 2010 the Council arranged the conference Assisted reproduction – 15 years later.

Full genome screening, epigenetics and personalised medicine

Another current topic is the recent advances in genetics and related areas. The Council will acquire necessary knowledge from expert scientists during the autumn.

The elusive human dignity – publication no 4

The Council is revising its popular publication (Det svårfångade människovärdet – en debattskrift) and a new edition is expected to be printed in the autumn.

Recent opinions

Opinion on new regulations and general advice from The National Board of Health and Welfare concerning life-sustaining treatment

Opinion on a law proposal concerning a legal obligation to help others in emergency situations, SOU 2011:16

Opinion on a law proposal concerning a new Biobanks Act SOU 2010:81

Opinion on a national strategy for quality registries in the Swedish health and medical services


If you have any questions concerning the newsletter or Council activities – please contact the secretariat: