NEWS

The bill’s provisions

A draft law drawn up by a committee under Professor Giorgos Koumandos and released by Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos should fill a legislative vacuum in Greece. New methods of artificial insemination have raised crucial ethical, social and legal issues for which the draft law seeks to provide answers. The basic provisions include: – IVF is only permitted in the case of an inability to conceive children naturally or in order to avoid passing on a genetically transferable disease or condition. It is not permissible to choose the child’s sex unless it is to prevent passing on a serious genetic condition. – The cloning of human beings for reproductive purposes is forbidden. – Every medical act is to be carried out with the written consent of the individuals wanting to have a child. If the mother is unmarried, the consent should be verified by a notary public. – IVF following the death of the father is only allowed under the following circumstances: (a) if the father suffered from a condition that carried a risk of sterility or if there is any other serious reason; (b) if the father had agreed in writing before a notary public that his sperm could be used after his death; or (c) if the IVF is carried out at least six months after the father’s death and not longer than two years afterward. – A child born via IVF is considered to be born within the marriage if the husband has given his written consent. A child conceived via IVF after the father’s death is to be considered his legal heir. – The transfer of fertilized ova to another woman is permitted only by a court order issued before the transfer, on condition of a written agreement between the couple wishing to have a child, the woman who agrees to bear it, and the latter’s husband if she is married. The court order is issued to the woman wanting to have the child, on production of medical evidence that she cannot bear the child herself. – In cases where a surrogate mother is used, the mother of the child is considered to be the woman to whom the court order was issued, that is, the woman who is incapable of bearing a child. This may be overturned within six months after the birth if either woman is able to prove that the child is the biological child of the surrogate mother. – Couples who resort to IVF must make a joint statement in writing to the doctor or the director of the medical center carrying out the procedure, whether any surplus genetic material (a) can be used by other people chosen by the doctor or medical center concerned; (b) can be used for research or therapeutic purposes; or (c) is to be destroyed. – If there is a joint statement in writing to that effect, the surplus genetic material is to be kept for up to five years and then either used for research or therapeutic purposes or destroyed. – The identity of a donor is not to be revealed to the couple wishing to have a child. Medical information about the donor is to be kept in a confidential file that does not indicate the person’s identity. Access to this information is only permitted to be given to the child for health reasons. The identity of the child and its legal parents are not to be made available to the donor.