MPs consider ethics of reproductive technology bill

The controversial technique aims to stop mitochondrial defects from being passed on from mother to child (ABC News/Jessica van Vonderen)

Several federal MPs have made heartfelt speeches to Parliament on the ethical quandaries raised by a proposed law on mitochondrial donation. Source: ABC News.

The Parliament is debating a bill to legalise a form of assisted reproductive technology that would help parents avoid transmitting mitochondrial DNA disease to their children.

Various techniques allow for an embryo to be produced using the nuclear material (DNA contained in each cell nucleus) from a man and a woman, as well as the mitochondria in an egg donated by another woman.

As a result, the unique genetic information from parents is still passed on to their child, but the mitochondrial defects are not.

The major parties are allowing parliamentarians a conscience vote on the issue, with the House of Representatives currently debating the details.

Labor frontbench MP Tanya Plibersek said she understood concerns about the technology, but she would be voting in favour of allowing it.

Liberal MP Julian Leeser told Parliament he’d considered both the personal and theological implications of the bill but was supportive of the use of assisted reproductive technology more broadly.

Liberal MP Kevin Andrews, a prominent campaigner on conservative and religious issues, is proposing several amendments to the bill, including one that would limit mitochondrial donation to certain methods “without the destruction to embryos or zygotes”.

To ensure the bill has enough support to pass Parliament, the Morrison Government is expected to amend its own bill by ruling out sex selection by parents and including more rigorous reporting on mitochondrial donations.


Federal MPs consider ethical quandaries in debate over ground-breaking mitochondrial donation technology (By Melissa Clarke, ABC News


Mitochondrial donation law raises ethical, safety concerns (ACBC Media Blog)

The long road to get Maeve’s law before Parliament (Sydney Morning Herald

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