Health Care Analysis

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 338–354

Comparing the Burden: What Can We Learn by Comparing Regulatory Frameworks in Abortion and Fertility Services?

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10728-011-0196-6

Cite this article as:
Sethe, S. & Murdoch, A. Health Care Anal (2013) 21: 338. doi:10.1007/s10728-011-0196-6


In the UK, regulation of clinical services is being restructured. We consider two clinical procedures, abortion and IVF treatment, which have similar ethical and political sensitivities. We consider factors including the law, licensing, inspection, amount of paperwork and reporting requirements, the reception by practitioners and costs, to establish which field has the greater ‘regulatory burden’. We test them based on scientific, ethical, social, political factors that might explain differences. We find that regulatory burden borne by IVF services is greater than in abortion, but none of the explanatory theses can provide a justification of this phenomenon. We offer an alternative explanation based on regulatory ‘overspill’ from research regulation and policy making, conceptualisation of risk regulation and a high public profile that locks a regulator into self-preservation.


IVF HFEA Abortion Regulatory burden HFE Act Abortion Act 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NorthEast England Stem Cell InstituteNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, Centre for LifeNewcastle upon TyneUK

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