Gov’t introduces bill to enable reproductive tech in hospitals

Proposed assisted reproductive technology legislation will soon be tabled in the Legislative Assembly after local authorities drafted a bill aimed at providing solutions for local parents struggling with infertility.

Married couples and couples in de facto relationships who are medically proven infertile can resort to reproductive technology to increase their chances of having a child under a bill introduced by the Executive Council.

Health Director-General Alvis Lo Iek Long told a news conference this afternoon that the proposed legislation also targets couples with genetic disorders, even those whose sons or daughters have serious conditions such as thalassemia.

“If a child has vascular disease, we could try to treat him or her by transplanting his or her brother’s or sister’s stem cells, whose cells may be highly compatible. These couples may consider assisted reproductive technology, which is associated with Natural childbirth is different and involves genetic screening. With the help of a stem cell transplant, we can use the baby’s cord blood to cure the disease.”

According to him, nearly 140 parents had fertility problems in 2018. That number more than doubled last year.

However, the director stressed that the bill, if passed, would not apply to single women, who would still be able to freeze their eggs.

Lo emphasized that only government-approved public and private hospitals can have assisted reproductive technology, and no clinic should be able to perform these tech-enabled treatments.

Unauthorized organizations found to provide reproductive technology will face criminal consequences in the future. As the bill implies, any natural person who violates the regulations will face a fine of up to MOP80,000, while legal persons can be fined up to MOP120,000.

The proposed legislation also seeks to ban surrogacy and embryo donation.

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