Allowing single and gay women to receive fertility treatment will erode the role of fathers in family life, a spokesperson for CORE (Comment of reproductive Ethics) said yesterday. "Suzi Leather, Chair of the HFEA, has shocked the nation," CORE said. " ... her dismissive attitude to the role of the father in the family structure is causing wide concern." "She argues that because there are so many single women heading families in the UK, we should consider eliminating altogether that phrase in the HFE Act which refers to the child's need for a father. "This is political correctness at its most absurd. In assisted reproduction it is the duty of society to offer ideal family situations to the children who are created, not replicate or legitimise the unfortunate disintegration of society as we find it today. The role of father is immensely important and cannot be reduced to a one-off donation of sperm. Children need real fathers and this was the intention of Parliament in 1990 when it wrote the relative phrase into the HFE Act. A father is a father, and this very precious role cannot be fulfilled by uncles, family friends or lesbian partners. "Just when the HFEA seemed to be getting more sensible, with a growing concern for the welfare of children (exemplified by their decision to endorse the abolition of gamete donor anonymity), we find them going back to square one on this contentious issue. Thousands of licences have already been given to single and lesbian women, anyway, and continue to be issued despite the clear intent of Parliament when the Act was enacted in 1990, so it is difficult to understand why the matter is suddenly of such importance. "With review of the HFE Act on the immediate horizon, it is time to ensure that our legislation is strengthened, not weakened. We must uphold the rights of the child in every situation, including the right to a real, tangible father as nature intended. Many countries have the courage to insist that IVF is provided only to heterosexual couples in stable relationships. Why not the UK?" Source: CORE
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