Canadian Official Aims to Outlaw Human Cloning

Health Minister to Unveil Regulations on Reproduction

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OTTAWA, JAN. 25, 2001 (
Canadian Minister of Health Allan Rock is preparing to unveil a national policy on reproductive and genetic technologies in the new session of Parliament that would ban human embryo cloning, surrogate mother contracts, and sex selection of babies for non-medical reasons, the National Post reported today.

Other far more experimental practices will also be outlawed, including the creation of animal-human hybrids, gene therapy to alter future generations, and removal of sperm or eggs from fetuses or human corpses, the newspaper said.

Officials say Rock is determined to put forward a regulatory regime to replace the current voluntary ban on nine reproductive practices, such as the buying, selling or trading of eggs, sperm and embryos.

The government´s long-awaited national policy, which will include penalties for violating the bans, will be contained in either legislation, a white paper or draft proposals that would be studied by a special Parliamentary committee before they are enacted into law, officials say.

Critics have long complained the voluntary moratorium is unenforceable, pointing to the fact there are at least 20 infertility clinics across the country operating with virtually no regulations.

Other practices to be prohibited include the sale or purchase of human gametes, embryos and fetuses and maintaining an embryo in an artificial womb, the newspaper said.

Rock is unlikely to ban the selling of sperm, but the practice would be regulated so it is not turned into a moneymaking venture. Human embryos given to scientists for research would have to be donated during the first 14 days after conception, the Post said.

Although Rock is determined to ban ethically offensive procedures, he reportedly does not want to impede scientific advances that could improve the treatment of human degenerative illnesses, including some forms of cancer, Parkinson´s disease and spinal cord injuries.

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