Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Letter From Elsewhere: Get Your Embryos Here

Letter From Elsewhere

Get Your Embryos Here – No Strings Attached


By Anne Else

Those funky fertility gods are at it again. This week they scored a double bullseye. First they called for spare stored embryos to go to unrelated people who needed them to have a baby. Then they announced that New Zealand’s first official IVF ‘surrogate’ pregnancy had begun. (I say official, because it’s well known that there have been a fair number of unofficial, do-it-yourself efforts which didn’t require IVF.)

In the USA, eggs, sperm, wombs and embryos are big business. There are Internet sites where you can “adopt” an embryo, then hire a “host uterus” to carry it for you. Last week a BBC documentary called “The Price of Eggs” showed a string of fresh-faced American twenty-somethings lining up to supply eggs to agencies for between $3000 and $10,000 (US).

By the time these women want to have babies themselves, they could well discover that they are no longer fertile. The hormones they took to produce eggs for others may turn out to have unforeseen effects. Or they could just be too old – fertility declines sharply after 35. But hey, no problem – they can just go to back to the agency and get someone else’s eggs instead.

As far as I know, no one is proposing to set up such agencies here. But if they did, there would be very little to stop them. We have no law against selling sperm, eggs, and embryos, or renting wombs. What we do have is a law (The Status of Children Amendment Act) which instantly installs the users of donated sperm or eggs as the legal parents of the resulting child, leaving no official trace of the child’s genetic origins.

The Adoption Act forbids running ads or paying money in connection with adoptions. But we’ve already had two cases of paid surrogacy which managed to evade any penalties.

Oh yes – we also have an ethics committee that’s supposed to approve any new procedures, like using other people’s embryos. But some of its decisions have already been overruled by the Human Rights Commission.

Who owns stored embryos? How long should they be kept? What if the couple who produced them split up and disagree about what should happen to them? Or a single man fronts up to a clinic with permission to use a stored embryo, and a surrogate mother in tow? Both are happening overseas.

New Zealand law is silent on these and many other reproductive technology issues. And the fertility gods know that. But they’re not letting a little thing like a legal vacuum stand in their way, when there are babies and money to be made.


ENDS

© Anne Else 2001
mcqueen.else@xtra.co.nz
http://www.geocities.com/nzwomen/AnneElse/

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

27-29 Sept: Social Enterprise World Forum Live Blog

1600+ delegates from more than 45 countries have came together to share wisdom, build networks and discuss how to create a more sustainable future using social enterprise as a vehicle. Attending the Forum were social enterprise practitioners, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, community leaders, investors, activists, academics and more from across the globe... More>>

HiveMind Report: A Universal Basic Income For Aotearoa NZ

Results from this HiveMind suggests that an overwhelming majority of Kiwis believe that due to changing circumstances and inefficiencies in the current system, we need a better system to take care of welfare of struggling members in our society. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Hivemind: Medical Cannabis - Co-Creating A Policy For Aotearoa

Welcome to the fourth and final HiveMind for Scoop’s Opening the Election campaign for 2017. This HiveMind explores the question: what would a fair, humane and safe Medical Cannabis policy look like for Aotearoa, NZ in 2018? More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: Notes On National’s Election Campaign, In Poem Form

Nationyl’s bitumen-ing / As they du du / Seed groweth / River floweth / Then ‘dozer drives thru / Highway ensu. More>>