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Moratorium On Human Reproduction Technology Call

Kedgley Asks For Moratorium On Human Reproduction Technology

News that Australian scientists are on a way to fertilise human eggs without using sperm raised ethical, cultural and legal concerns and showed that we are not prepared to deal with the most powerful technology the world has ever seen, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

"The New Zealand legislation on human reproduction is way out of date," said Ms Kedgley. "We have absolutely no legislation which covers human cloning, the genetic engineering of human beings or any other controversial human reproductive technology."

Ms Kedgley was responding to reports that the research team at Melbourne's Monash University has succeeded in "fertilising" a normal mouse egg by using an artificial gamete, a cell taken from a body of a man. The embryos develop fairly normally in the laboratory and the team is about to transfer them into the wombs of surrogate mice. Once the animals have been born and tested the scientists say they will start experiments with humans.

"There is no way to predict what would happen with the surrogate mice, and how can we talk about future mothers and babies? There is a huge risk over this whole experiment and even if we are a couple of years away from the human tests we need to start thinking about the implications now.

"We have to debate the far reaching ethical implications of applying any such technology here in New Zealand. We need to draw a line in the sand and decide what is acceptable for us as a society," she said.

"Human Assisted Reproduction Bill is before the Health Select Committee. We need to deal with the legislation urgently: listen to submissions, debate all those controversial issues and set a regulatory framework for assisted human reproductive technology in New Zealand.

"Until New Zealand get those regulations, there should be a moratorium on further applications of this technology," said Ms Kedgley.

Ends


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