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Debate And Laws On Embryo Use Must Come First

06 May 2002

Scientists should not be given permission to destroy left-over frozen embryos for research purposes until the public has properly debated the ethics and acceptable limits of this research and other proposed new human reproductive treatments, Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

Otago University researchers, in collaboration with Christchurch's Fertility Centre, propose to destroy embryos left over from IVF treatment, to develop a blueprint of a healthy embryo.

But Ms Kedgley said legislation and public debate are lagging far behind the new capabilities and ethical challenges of the technology.

"The Government has been promising to fast-track human reproductive technology legislation for two years now, and yet the legislation continues to languish in Parliament, leaving a vacuum in the entire area.

"At present, New Zealand has one of the most unregulated reproductive technology regimes in the world, and it is largely left up to fertility researchers to decide on limits."

Ms Kedgley said until a public debate on the issues has taken place, and legislation is passed in Parliament setting out clearly the legal and ethical parameters of any new human reproductive technology, no new boundaries should be crossed.

Ends

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