Assisted Reproduction – ACART Government Health Committee

The Humanist Society of New Zealand (Inc.) represents the interests of non-theistic people in New Zealand. We seek to build a more humane society based on human and other natural values. New Zealand census figures indicate that approximately a third of our population has no religious belief.

The Humanist Society is mostly in agreement with the suggestions put forward in the consultation paper on Assisted Reproductive Technology. We support various forms of surrogacy under certain conditions. We endorse guidelines that do not allow genetic inbreeding. We are also opposed to the PGD creation of children with a genetic disease.

The Humanist Society gives the following reasons for it policy positions:

  • Harm reduction and the alleviation of suffering
  • Freedom of religion or belief
  • Freedom from discrimination as stated in the Human Rights Act

We believe that PGD should be used for the benefit of a potential child and for the benefit of an existing sibling if this does not unduly harm the potential child.

We support individuals being able to form embryos for reproductive purposes using a donated egg and a donated sperm. This should be legally possible when someone is infertile or does not have a partner of the opposite sex. Surplus embryos from in vitro fertilisation should also be capable of being donated to others.

The Humanist Society disagrees with the proposed guidelines in relation to informed consent where people are long term incapacitated or deceased. We believe that the donation of gametes or embryos relating to the individual concerned should still proceed provided that there is some evidence that this is what they would have wanted. It is too restricting to ignore eyewitness testimony in regards of consent as the guidelines currently propose.

We believe that the import and export of in vitro embryos and gametes should be allowed subject to certain legal provisions. We also consider that it is ethical to pay a nominal amount for gamete donation, to help recover the costs incurred to donors.

We consider that in all cases the safety, rights, and well being, of a potential child must be considered and should be paramount.