Updated: 11/20/2012 03:19

Singapore mulls new laws to clarify legal status of ART children



Singapore mulls new laws to clarify legal status of ART children

Singapore is looking into proposing new laws to clarify the legal parentage and status of children conceived through Assisted Reproduction Technology, or ART. 

The public consultation process for the proposed Status of children (Assisted Reproduction Technology) bill will begin tomorrow and end on 20 December. 

The Ministry of Law says the proposed bill states that a woman who carries or has carried a child as a result of a fertilisation procedure will be treated in law as the mother of the child. 

This means no one else including a third party egg or embryo donor can claim to be the child's mother. 

And where the child was not conceived with the husband's sperm, the husband is treated in law as the father of the child, unless he can show that he did not consent his wife to undergoing the fertilisation procedure at the time it was carried out or does not accept the child as a child of marriage. 

In the circumstance where a mother of the child is unmarried, the man whose sperm was used in the fertilisation procedure will not be treated as the child's father unless he marries the mother. 

The bill also aims to clarify the legal parentage and status of children conceived through ART where the wrong egg, sperm or embryo was used in the fertilisation procedure as a result of a mistake or negligence. 

The bill adopts the default position that the mother who gave birth to the child and her husband who consented to the ART treatment will be the legal parents of the child. 

However, any interested party may make an application to the court for he or she to be declared as the father or mother of the child, within the two years from the date the mistake was discovered. 

The court can make a declaration if it is in the best interests of the child. 

Some factors to be considered by the court include the age of the child and the bond between the child and the applicant. 

The wishes of the child will also be considered if he or she is capable of expressing an independent opinion. 

The Ministry of Law says the introduction of the bill is timely, given the increasing number of babies conceived through ART in Singapore.

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