Zhoosh Magazine - February 2009 - (Page 9)
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill will represent a significant shift in the rights of lesbians and single women accessing fertility treatment. The goal of this legislation is to improve the existing ‘This Bill was law in relation to assisted approved on the reproduction and embryo 29th of October research. It was felt and received royal that current legislation particularly in relation to accent on 13th November 2008’. fertility treatment was potentially discriminatory towards lesbians and single women. This Bill will act to improve the rights and ease the barriers that many lesbians have faced in relation to assisted reproduction and parenthood. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill her partner will be regarded as the second parent. While this represents a significant step forward in gay and lesbian rights, it highlights some important issues. The passing of this Bill was fraught with difficulties and faced many challenges from M.P and lobbying groups. The former Tory leader Ian Duncan Smith even tried to propose an amendment to strengthen the current barriers by stressing both the need for a mother and a father. So what does this bill aim to do? Well, under current legislation if a lesbian couple wishes to access fertility treatment, the clinic is required to consider the prospective child’s ‘need for a father’. This ultimately led in some circumstances to clinics refusing treatment to lesbian couples, using the child’s ‘need for a father’ as an explanation for their decision. Not only does this act to directly discriminate against lesbians but it prevents women from accessing safe treatment. The introduction of this new Bill will remove the ‘need for a father’ and replace this with a renewed focus on ‘supportive parenting.’ It will also transform the Sociologists have argued that families in the 21st legal relationship between lesbian couples and their century are diverse. There is no such thing as the children. ‘family’. It is more beneficial to use the term families. This reflects the diverse forms that families can take. Under the current state of affairs a lesbian couple The nuclear family famously shown in the OXO cube accessing fertility treatment are required to adopt adverts of the 1980’s that comprised of a heterosexual a child conceived in their relationship, before they couple and 2.4 children is no longer the norm. are granted parental status. However, with the introduction of this new legislation, same-sex couples Current research has also shown that children born to will have automatic rights. lesbian couples develop socially and emotionally in a While this amendment was successfully defeated, the arguments used against this Bill highlighted the intolerance and homophobic attitudes still prevalent in our culture. Many critics stressed the negative impact that this Bill would have on children’s development. Could a child truly flourish in an environment without a father present? Wouldn’t this have a negative impact on the child’s ‘It’s the nature of social and emotional parenting rather than development? Some the sex of the parents critics even went so far which matters most’ to predict the breakdown of the family. similar manner to children born by donor insemination The birth mother is defined as the legal mother and to heterosexual partners. If this is the case then why Page 9
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Zhoosh Magazine - February 2009
Zhoosh Magazine - February 2009
What are You Reading?
New Goth on the Block
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill
Congestion, the Debate Continues...
Sugar and Spice
Wherefore ART Thou?
LGBT History Month
Zhoosh Magazine - February 2009