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Common sense has prevailed

A child born as a result of gamete donation will have a right to know the identity of his biological mother and father at the age of 18. Photo: Shutterstock

A child born as a result of gamete donation will have a right to know the identity of his biological mother and father at the age of 18. Photo: Shutterstock

Thankfully it seems like common sense has prevailed regarding the amendments to the Embryo Protection Act. There are three main fundamental improvements to the original Bill.

The first is that a child born as a result of gamete donation will have a right to know the identity of his biological mother and father at the age of 18.

The second is that the parents of frozen embryos will be given an additional IVF cycle, free of charge, to give all embryos the chance to be brought to term. This is certainly an improvement over the original Bill; however this should be further strengthened with a legal obligation to do so within a two-year period unless a medical condition precludes this. This will significantly reduce the number of embryos that will be ‘up for adoption’, which should only be exceptional cases – preferably none at all.

The third amendment is that the regulation of altruistic surrogacy is going to be discussed in a separate Act of Parliament, rather than through a legal notice subsidiary to the Embryo Protection Act. The surrogate mother will be given all the support she needs while respecting the rights of the biological gamete owners.

The surrogate mother will therefore be fully supported for her generous and noble act but once her job is complete the child will be cared for by the persons originally intended. One grey area that may arise is if the surrogate mother also happens to be the gamete donor, and special consideration must be made in the Bill for this possibility.

These changes are pro-life and respect the basic rights of the child. I thank the people responsible for this Bill for keeping an open mind. Let us not try to score political points in this very important debate, and let’s keep this discussion apolitical.

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