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News Item

More children to be denied the right to a father and mother

The McGowan Government has announced that it supports the recommendations of the Ministerial Expert Panel to rewrite West Australia’s surrogacy and reproductive technology legislation to allow single men and same sex couples access to surrogacy. Under WA current laws (Surrogacy Act 2008) only heterosexual couples can access surrogacy in WA.

Regrettably, these recommendations are grounded in the ideology that the desires of adults to have children, trumps the right of children to be brought up by their biological parents.

To be eligible for surrogacy, a couple has to have been together for at least 3 months, and for single persons there is no such eligibility criteria to be met.

The proposed legislation will allow testing of embryos for creating designer babies for the purpose of creating a child that will produce stem cells that could be used in therapy for a parent, sibling or other relative who requires tissue or organ donation due to illness.

Embryos that don’t match the criteria presumably can be disposed of or used for experimentation.

It is also proposed to allow the collection of eggs and sperm from a dead or dying person for their later use by their partner to create a child either directly or via a surrogate.

It is pleasing to see that the legislation will ban the of testing embryos for sex selection purposes and enshrine in law the right of children born as the result of the use of donated sperm or eggs to information about their genetic heritage and biological parents.

The Government, in making its announcement last Thursday, claimed the proposed legislation is to ‘help Western Australians start and build their families’. However, it failed to define what it understands a family to be! Clearly, the Government view is that dad, mum and the kids is just one kind of ‘family’.

The Government has not given any indication of when the legislation would be coming to the Parliament. With the lack of a credible opposition in the parliament, it is unlikely that the proposed legislation will receive the scrutiny it deserves.

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