Media Release

For release: Monday May 23, 2011

The Australian Christian Lobby has rejected a call by an ACT fertility specialist to commercialise fertility treatments in the territory.

Commercialising surrogacy and egg donation would take advantage of vulnerable women and would also add to the increasing “genetic bewilderment” of donor-conceived children, thereby putting the rights of adults above the rights of the child.

ACT Director Nick Jensen said in response to comments by Doctor Stafford-Bell in The Canberra Times that the idea of commercialised surrogacy is one which is fraught with ethical, legal and medical complexities.

“It would not only create a situation where vulnerable young women could feel pressured to sell their eggs and wombs in order to the cover cost of living, but also fails to recognise the pain and hurt that would continue to be caused to donor-conceived children,” he said.

“We recognise the strong desire for people to have children if they are unable to for whatever reason, but this is not a good enough reason to commercialise it into an industry,” Mr Jensen said.

“Children are not pets to be bought and sold as part of a consumer culture, and the rights and desires of adults should not trump those of children.

“Calls to commercialise the reproductive industry do not take into account that procuring human beings is not a capitalist venture.

“The idea that a rich couple would be able to offer a poverty-stricken woman money to use her body as an incubator is not an ethical one. Even if the woman agrees we would be creating a society where money can even buy people, and equality is being removed.

“Fertility treatment has been a major breakthrough, but we should still keep at the forefront of these laws a child’s right to grow up with their natural mother and father if at all possible, as stated in article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“We call on the ACT government as they consider legislation around reproductive technology to follow the recommendations given by the Senate on Donor Conception practices in Australia, which prohibits payments on sperm, oocyte and embryo donations, discourages overseas donations, and puts a prohibition on donor anonymity,” Mr Jensen said.