PALMERSTON NORTH, N.Z.—A battle is looming over proposed restrictions on research involving in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Australia, a world leader in such studies.

The extent of concern among scientists was evident in papers delivered during the annual meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (ANZAAS), held here in late January.

"In the coming months, the federal Australian parliament may well become an epicenter of biomedical shock," said Russell Scott, an Australian barrister and member of the nation's Medical Research Ethics Committee. "We will see whether reproductive research will be placed under legislation and criminal penalties. If so, will effective regulation be achieved—regulation that restrains excesses, secures benefits and is publicly acceptable? Or is achievement by these means delusion?

"If regulatory steps are taken by the parliament," Scott added, "they will disclose whether in this field Australian politicians have caliber and stature comparable with...

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