Tuesday, 22 January 2008

HFE Bill Report Stage (Lords)

From http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldhansrd/text/80121-0012.htm, or thereabouts.

Lord Tebbit
do not children have human rights? Does not an unborn child have rights? Indeed, perhaps one could extend it to the concept that a child not yet conceived, has a right? I think it does. It has a human right to a father and a mother. We should ensure that we do all we can to see that that is carried through.
Lord Jenkin of Roding
There is widespread agreement—it was apparent in the Select Committee and in Committee in this House—that it is highly desirable that a donor-conceived person be told of his or her biological origins at the earliest stage at which they can be expected to understand the situation.
Baroness Warnock
we must try to ensure that children are not brought up under a misconception about their genetic parenthood. That is one of the most obvious cases of immoral treatment of a child, and it can be embarked on only by parents who are thinking more of themselves than of the good of the child.
Lord Patten
I say to the Minister that it is totally wrong for the state to connive in a falsehood—and I know he does not wish to do so. Birth certificates must record the birth as far as it is possible. They must never encourage a deliberate falsehood by making provision for the registration of parents in a way not clear to their children. Birth certificates have the sole function of genetic history, not of saying who is carrying out the “parenting function”, if that is what it might be called.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
The noble Earl, Lord Howe, asked about birth certificates and compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights. Any proposal to amend birth certificates in the way suggested would have to be considered on the individual facts. However, broadly speaking, the Government’s view is that the human rights of donor-conceived children and their parents are likely to be engaged. Therefore, any interference by the state into this private realm would have to be proportionate and fully justified. It is our view that the interests of donor-conceived children in finding out about their genetic origins are best protected by a programme of information and education to support their parents in discussing this information with them.