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Greater protection for children

INTERIM RECOMMENDATIONS released last week by the Victorian Law Reform Commission focused on greater protection for children born from assisted reproduction.The recommendations were published in…

INTERIM RECOMMENDATIONS released last week by the Victorian Law Reform Commission focused on greater protection for children born from assisted reproduction.

The recommendations were published in the first of a series of three position papers that will suggest changes to the law regarding access to assisted reproductive technology, parentage and adoption, and surrogacy. The paper proposed the introduction of legislated principles to guide the use of assisted reproduction techniques such as IVF and artificial insemination, and stated that any principles should consider the best interests of the children to be born, ban discrimination on the grounds of race, religion or marital status and ban exploitation of people’s reproductive capabilities and their children.

Commission chairperson Professor Marcia Neave said people working in clinics had said there should be a process to deal with potential parents who might not be able to care for a child. “We’ve recommended that if a doctor or counsellor believes potential parents may be at risk of abusing or neglecting a child, they must refer the matter to a clinical ethics committee.”

Other recommendations were that people who have had children removed from their care or been convicted of a serious violent or sexual offence should be refused treatment. The paper also includes interim recommendations dealing with the use of a deceased person’s sperm and eggs and the creation of “saviour siblings”.

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