OPINION

Assisted reproduction

Abill on «assisted reproduction,» already being debated in Parliament, touches on one of the most serious and difficult subjects in modern society and one in which widely differing moral and legal positions have been expressed. The serious nature of the subject, however, appears to have inspired an equally serious approach during preparation of the bill, as well as during the subsequent public and parliamentary debate. The government has recognized the validity of the Church’s views, even though it disagrees with some of them, while the Church, while expressing its disagreement, has emphasized that it does not want a conflict on the issue. In addition, the main opposition New Democracy rapporteur has expressed reservations regarding certain amendments but favors voting for the bill in principle. This combination of seriousness and moderation was already clear from the time the bill was being prepared, when the committee headed by Professor Giorgos Koumandos attempted to adapt legislation to the great strides being made in medical technology while keeping to the limits set by certain fundamental moral principles. The bill, presented in April, contained changes reflecting observations made by the Church while keeping to the bill’s original spirit. Such a moderate stance was praiseworthy, not only from the standpoint of legislation but for more fundamental reasons. Indeed, assisted reproduction puts to the test not only basic moral values and views regarding paternity and the family, but traditional concerns as to just where the law may go. The question is not only whether legislators should legalize a particular method of assisted reproduction, but their potential ability to forbid those methods they rule to be impermissible. If one chooses to ban, for example, the use of genetic material from someone who has died, or the use of a surrogate mother, while these methods continue to occur in practice, the only result is a series of legal problems and risks of blackmail. New medical technology is taking us into a «wonderful new world» that gives hope to couples hitherto unable to conceive a child, but it entails some moral and real risks. The bill calls for a courageous and balanced attempt to adapt to reality while averting excesses. Should we delay, we risk confronting a reality that is far more anarchic than the one we currently face.