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Draft Ethical guidelines on the use of assisted reproductive technology in clinical practice and research submission

ID: 
49
Personal Details
First Name: 
Stephen
Last Name: 
Saunders
Comment on specific Sections, clauses or sentences of the draft revised Draft Ethical guidelines
Specific Comments: 
General Comments
General Comments: 

This is a very different kind of issue to say, same sex marriage, where it is nobody's moral business but the two parties, and no other person is directly affected, no matter how much they might think or say that they are. 

In this case, a selfish personal 'right' is being assumed where none exists and none is required, and where the most directly affected party - the child - clearly doesn't get a say and can't have a say. The assumption is that the child's gender will correspond with its selected birth sex, but we all know that is not always true at the 100% level. The assumption is that the child will agree with and fit in with the parents' rationale, but this cannot be assumed.

To begin with, far too much has been made already of the 'right' or 'need' for IVF, and far too much is spent on this practice, when a certain proportion of the population is naturally infertile anyway, and the last thing Australia needs is increased population. IVF in itself is a first-world issue and indulgence, not in any sense a health or medical priority. 

Australia has a poor record of protecting the rights of unborn children, as the years of deception and cruelty over so-called 'anonymous' sperm donation shows. A moment's thought should have shown, even in the 1970s, that this was not fair to the party most affected - the unborn child, which always had a moral right to know its father. But the medical profession and the hospitals put themselves first. Surrogacy is another area where our rules are slack and inconsistent, and do not protect all parties affected. We got ourselves into moral trouble in these areas because we put the consumer 'needs' ahead of the moral and ethical rights. 

Here, it seems to me that all the pressure for change would come from the medical profession and from selfish would be parents wanting a 'designer' family. No moral case is made in the discussion material for an extension of the current rules, which permit sex selection for genuine moral and medical reasons that few reasonable lay observers would object to.    

At the very least, this change shouldn't even be discussed unless it comes with one cast-iron guarantee - that the child has a 100% right not only to know the facts, but also to know the alleged rationale for the decision.

I would argue further that the child should retain all moral and legal rights to take any action it so desires against the parties who made this choice on its behalf, but with no consultation as to the reasons, and no assurance at all that the child would accept those reasons once it learnt them, and its own part as a pawn in a larger game.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page reviewed: 20 April, 2017