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New Zealand reviews legal parenthood after ART

Dr. Kirsty Horsey

Progress Educational Trust

07 April 2004

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[BioNews, London] The issue of parenthood following fertility treatments has also been raised in New Zealand recently, where the Law Commission has published a discussion paper on the subject. In the paper, called 'New Issues in Legal Parenthood', the Commission has called for feedback on whether laws governing parenthood and related matters should be changed to bring them in line with 'the fast pace of social change'.

Part of the 'social change' referred to includes the increased use of assisted reproductive technologies, including surrogacy and the increased incidence of single women and lesbians having children. The Law Commission also says that current laws in New Zealand 'fail to recognise the Maori practice of children sometimes being raised by adults who are not their genetic parents'. According to the Law Commission, 'one in three children in New Zealand lives outside the traditional nuclear family of a genetic mother and father living in the same household'.

The discussion paper reviews and asks for submissions on the laws relating to parental status and parental rights and responsibilities in light of social changes and new developments in assisted human reproduction. It considers, in particular, the laws that govern parenthood in cases of donor gamete conception and surrogacy, and asks whether the 'traditional' idea of a child having only two legal parents needs to be changed, while presenting a number of options for reallocating parenthood in these situations.

Submissions on this paper should be made before 24 May 2004.

© Copyright Progress Educational Trust

Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.

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Date Added: 07 April 2004   Date Updated: 12 September 2004
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