Children’s Commissioner comes out in favour of IVF bill

The Commissioner for Children Pauline Miceli said that the fundamental rights of children should not be prejudiced

The purpose of the IVF bill is to make the process more accessible, equitable, and to avoid unnecessary hardship, Commissioner for Children Pauline Miceli said
The purpose of the IVF bill is to make the process more accessible, equitable, and to avoid unnecessary hardship, Commissioner for Children Pauline Miceli said

Embryo freezing is a “viable practice” with a high rate of survival of human embryos, the Commissioner for Children Pauline Miceli said, coming out in full support of the IVF bill.

“The bill provides a framework for the cryopreservation of embryos to be conducted in a way that maximises the chances of the individual human embryo to survive throughout the freezing and thawing process, and thus to eventually develop healthily,” she said.

This point related to one of the main rights at play – the child’s right to life and health. Children also have a right to identity, and stable and loving care.

On the issue of the child’s identity, Miceli said that the bill promotes the principle that the child’s identity lies in their relationship to their parents, irrespective of whether the child is biologically related to them.

“Both in terms of the child’s right to know their biological identity and their right to be recognised unconditionally as part of the family unit which acted for the child to be conceived, born and raised, the bill puts children conceived through medically assisted reproductive techniques on par with all other children, including adopted children,” she said.

The purpose of the bill is to make the process of IVF more accessible and equitable, and to avoid “unnecessary hardship,” she said.

“The fundamental rights of the child at such an early and critical stage of his or her development should not be prejudiced.”

In regards to a child’s right to stable and loving care, Miceli said that the bill’s proposed extension of eligibility to single or same sex parents is a “natural consequence” of the broader and more plural definition of family units.

“Children’s rights advocates are more concerned with the content and quality of the care children receive from their parents than with the parents’ sexual orientation and marital status,” Miceli said.

The Commissioner also noted that the bill provides for unused frozen embryos to be put up for adoption. “We need to work hard to ensure that the quality and accessibility of the adoption process guarantees the right to receive loving care from a stable family unit, as is the case of any adopted child.”

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