New Zealand children would be able to have three legal parents if changes to parenthood laws tabled in Parliament are adopted. According to an official report by a national legal think-tank, “New Issues in Legal Parenthood”, egg and sperm donors should be able to opt in” to legal parenthood if the other two parents agree. The main thrust of the report is that any changes to existing legislation should ensure that the roles of sperm or egg donors and surrogate mothers are crystal clear before children are conceived. It is sympathetic to children’s right to know their biological parents and suggests that parents annotate birth certificates to indicate that the child was born with the help of a donor.
The notion of having three parents was one of the more striking features of the report. It points out that many children in New Zealand effectively have three or more “parents” in any case. In some instances, this has happened because of family breakdown. In others, it is a result of the extended families in Islander communities. The commission also notes that there are no restrictions on the number of guardians who can be appointed for a child. Furthermore, rapidly progressing human reproductive science may enable a child to have three genetic parents in the future. “All such developments strain the logic of restricting the law to an unalterable two-parent family model,” the report contends.
Unsurprisingly, the commission’s proposal were controversial. “New Zealanders should be asking just where the politically correct madness and experimentation with our children’s future is going to stop,” said a spokeswoman for the New Zealand First party, Barbara Stewart.
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