NEWS

Draft law on human cloning

While banning the cloning of human beings for the purpose of reproduction, a new draft law on artificial fertilization tabled in Parliament yesterday will allow human cloning for medical purposes. The Ministry of Justice bill also imposes strict regulations on the process of in vitro fertilization, including sperm donor anonymity and a widow’s access to her dead husband’s sperm. «The rapid development of medical processes that assist human reproduction and their continuously increasing implementation in Greece pose crucial moral, social and legal problems,» the report accompanying the draft noted. Over 6,500 babies were born in Greece between 1989 and 1998 following in vitro fertilization, using treatment available in the country since 1985. Under the draft law, cloning for reproductive purposes will be banned as it would interfere with the unique character of each human being. But cloning will be permitted for medical purposes, provided DNA donors give their permission in writing. Artificial fertilization will be allowed on grounds of sterility or in cases where a couple’s offspring would inevitably suffer from serious hereditary disorders. Women will not be able to undergo fertility treatment beyond their natural childbearing age, while gender selection will only be allowed if dictated by the threat of hereditary disease. Furthermore, a sperm donor’s identity will never be divulged to couples undergoing treatment nor to the ensuing children. However, their medical records will be available to the offspring. And widows will only be able to use their husbands’ frozen sperm for insemination following the express written permission of the deceased, and only for a period of six to 24 months after the donor’s death.