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I think I want to move to New Zealand

Saturday, 21 June, 2008

Bioethicists must be sensible across the Ditch, because a New Zealand bioethics commission has released a report titled “Who Gets Born?” in which their first and foremost recommendation is:

Decisions about whether to have pre-birth testing, and what to do in light of the results, should be made by the parent(s) within the existing framework of the Code of Rights.

It’s just so sensible! Maybe not sensible enough for my own government (Australia) or the motherland (Great Britain), but sensible enough for the Kiwis (New Zealand) and Yankees (USA).

Also sensible is recommendation 8, which states:

The present distinction between using preimplantation genetic diagnosis to create embryos that are tissue-matched to sick siblings suffering from inherited conditions and using it to help siblings suffering non-inherited conditions should be removed. The only requirement should be that the sick sibling is suffering from a serious condition for which no other treatment is reasonably available.

Although I think that requirement is still too much, that is actually far more sensible than I’m used to hearing.

Finally, just because the public contributors weren’t enough like myself, we have recommendation 10, which reads:

The current provisions allowing the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (without the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology’s oversight) for late-onset or low-penetrance conditions be retained.

As anyone who reads this blog often will know, I am in favour of the use of PGD for any condition, be it gender, intelligence or albinism (with the sole exception of a condition causing so much pain as to make life not worth living, in which such a choice would be cruel).

Despite this last failing, I find myself in the unusual position of actually envying New Zealand.

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2 comments

  1. […] too. The Bioethics Council of New Zealand (aka ‘Toi te Taiao’), the same council that last year published such sensible opinions on parents genetically selecting their children,  has apparently been disestablished. A press release states: It is with regret that Toi te Taiao: […]


  2. You wrote:
    “I am in favour of the use of PGD for any condition, be it gender, intelligence or albinism (with the sole exception of a condition causing so much pain as to make life not worth living, in which such a choice would be cruel).”
    Please, define “so much pain as to make a life not worth living”.
    If you think it’s easy, you’re fooling yourself.
    I would tend to agree with you about conception and abortion. Yet you have to admit that choosing who is or is not to be born some day is also a case of “drawing a line in the sand”.

    Plus, in the long run, this is bound to make the species’s gene bank smaller. And that was never an asset for any species. Not in the near future, mind you… But if you want to play god, you should avoid restricting your previsions to the next 100 years.



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