Glenn Cohen, Assistant Professor of Law and co-director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, addressed health care professionals as a guest speaker at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s 66th annual meeting, as part of the Ken Ryan Ethics Symposium – Cross-Border Care, on Oct. 25 in Denver, Colo.

The talk, entitled “Medical Tourism for Reproduction: Legal and Ethical Issues,” highlighted the complexities of medical tourism, a controversial multi-billion dollar industry in which patients travel from their home country to another in pursuit of medical treatment.  Cohen discussed the quality of care available, the risks as to medical malpractice recovery, the circumvention of domestic prohibitions on some fertility practices, the potential for exploitation of surrogates in India and elsewhere, and the effects of medical tourism on the domestic and foreign health care markets from both an economic and global justice perspective.

Many of these issues are discussed by Cohen in his recent papers, “Medical Tourism: The View from Ten Thousand Feet” in the Hastings Center Report, and “Protecting Patients with Passports: Medical Tourism and the Patient Protective-Argument” in the Iowa Law Review.  Both are also part of Harvard Law School’s Public Law & Legal Theory Working Paper Series.

“The globalization of health care is an increasing fact of life. Medical tourism is but one piece of that puzzle,” Cohen said. “Beyond posing ethical and regulatory challenges in its own right, medical tourism offers us a welcome opportunity to reexamine some fixed stars in the constellation of domestic health care regulation.”

For more information on ASRM, visit their website.