Reproduction and the Beginnings of Life - LAWS8670

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2021 to 2022.


The curriculum includes the overall ethical and regulatory framework within which a continuing societal debate over appropriate limits on reproductive autonomy takes place. Contextual ethical and legal concepts will be explored in relation to controversial topics such as 'designer babies', cloning and ‘unnatural’ motherhood. The role of regulatory oversight of reproduction and the fundamental assumptions upon which this is based, such as compulsory altruism, will be subjected to legal and ethical critique.


Contact hours

Total study hours: 200
Contact hours: 18
Private study hours: 182


Spring Term

Method of assessment

Essay 5,000 words maximum (100%)

Indicative reading

• Ruth Deech and Anna Smajdor, From IVF to immortality: controversy in the era of reproductive technology (2007)
• Emily Jackson, Medical Law: Text and Materials (2016, 4th Edition).
• Emily Jackson, Regulating reproduction: law, technology and autonomy (2001)
• Robert Lee, Human fertilisation and embryology: regulating the reproductive revolution (2001)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

1. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the legal regulation of reproduction, gender and conception and the ethical principles upon which this is based.
2. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the relationship between medical law and feminist and ethical concerns in relation to contraception, abortion and new reproductive technologies.
3. Demonstrate systematic insight into the pragmatic, ethical and theoretical factors impacting on the regulation of assisted conception and collaborative reproduction.
4. Demonstrate a comprehensive overview of the continuing debates over the appropriate limits upon reproductive autonomy in relation to notions such as dignity as these impact on the regulation of reproduction.


Stage 1


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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