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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6875

Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Health and Ageing) (5:58 PM) —I hope I have got this right. In amendment (9), when we are talking about excess embryos, a woman or a couple may choose, because of a high risk of inherited disease in a certain sex—and we do not have the ability to identify that totally—not to use the embryos of that sex for that reason. If the high risk of inherited disease was in the male, then the male embryos would then be in excess of the needs of the woman, but you would know for the purposes of research that the excess embryos were all male. Senator Hogg's amendments would then be a problem in the sense that you cannot discriminate on the grounds of sex, but in this case you would just happen to have all these excess embryos from that person, and they would all be male. That is the issue. It does actually cover both areas. I may not have explained that properly but that is the gist of it. The amendments say that you cannot select an embryo to be excess based on gender. If the couple have two embryos, one male and one female, they may decide not to use one because it is male and may carry disease, and that embryo will then become excess. I have been advised that this would be an offence under the Hogg amendments.