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Majority of Taiwanese back surrogacy -- with conditions: poll
Central News Agency
2013-12-16 10:58 PM
Taipei, Dec. 16 (CNA) Over 80 percent of respondents to a recent poll said they have heard of surrogacy reproduction and nearly 70 percent thought the arrangement should be allowed, findings that the government used to support the adoption of the practice. Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta presented the results of the survey on Monday as he proposed amendments to the Artificial Reproduction Act that would legalize surrogacy, which refers to an arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person. Chiu said the poll, conducted in August, showed that 83 percent of respondents had heard of surrogacy reproduction or surrogate mothers, and 68.1 percent said they disagreed with continuing the ban on surrogacy and assisted reproduction technology. In addition, 85.6 percent of respondents said they agreed to legalizing reproductive technology under strict management rules and complementary measures to meet the special needs of some married couples who cannot conceive, Chiu said. The respondents also had different opinions on the legitimacy of the practice based on the reproductive source, Chiu said. If both eggs and sperm were sourced from a married couple, 78 percent thought the couple should be allowed to use surrogate mothers, but if only one or the other came from a married couple, then 47 percent said surrogacy should be permitted. The Ministry of Health and Welfare conducted the survey on surrogacy between Aug. 2-4 among adults in 21 counties and cities around the nation, with 1,075 valid samples collected. Taiwan completed the draft of the Artificial Reproduction Act in 1996 and achieved a consensus on delinking the act from surrogate mothers in 2003. In 2004, the Citizen Consensus Conference in Taiwan reached a consensus on lifting the ban on surrogacy and allowing it under certain conditions, and the government has been trying to draft a surrogate motherhood bill since then. Between 1996 and 2011, over 20 meetings attended by domestic and international experts and the general public were held in Taiwan and many surveys on the issue were carried out, according to Chiu. Surrogacy arrangements have sparked concerns over a wide variety of potential abuses, such as the commercialization of human bodies, the possible exploitation of economically disadvantaged groups, and the potential infringement on privacy of surrogate mothers. There are also fears that a women's right to reproductive self-determination will be violated and abortions of babies with potential birth defects will increase, and thorny questions over whether surrogate mothers should get paid has yet to be resolved, Chiu said. The minister said the most important task at present was to develop complementary measures to better govern surrogacy arrangements. The proposed legislation would aim to treat infertility rather than giving birth to babies, and surrogacy arrangements would be considered as medical procedures, he added. (By Lung Rui-yun and Y.L. Kao)
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