Labour MP Dianne Yates says she would still like tighter regulations controlling aspects of fertility treatments and the creation of designer babies but is pleased there are now guidelines in place.
"It's taken eight years to get the bill through and I'm really pleased that we do have a legislative framework in place," Ms Yates told NZPA today.
Her Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill was strongly supported 102-18 on a third reading conscience vote last night.
Ms Yates drafted the bill in 1996 and it was amended many times by a select committee which was often overtaken by technological advances.
The bill passes most of the responsibility for fertility treatments to an ethics committee under guidelines in the legislation. No new treatments will be practised unless they are covered by the guidelines.
The bill bans some type of procedures outright, including the cloning of embryos, genetic modification and the use of cells from foetuses for reproductive purposes.
Ms Yates said her main aim had been to ban cloning humans, and other issues had been included as the bill progressed through its parliamentary process.
Amendments to it had been influenced by British, Canadian and Australian laws, international biotechnological conferences and public submissions.
"Even so, this bill poses as many problems as it answers and I believe the revised bill still leaves some highly controversial technologies to decisions made by an advisory committee which will formulate mere guidelines and not regulations," she said.
"There are parts of the bill, for instance taking a sperm or gametes from dead people, PGD the pre-implantation diagnosis, some issues that are left to guidelines - even the consent process - I would much rather have it as a regulation with penalties involved but the House didn't agree," she said.
"But I think that guidelines are better than nothing."
Ms Yates said the vote of 102 to 18 for the bill's final stage was a good result.
Those who voted against it either thought there should not be any legislation at all, or they had wanted tighter regulations.
When Ms Yates introduced the bill, it proposed a licensing authority and licensing regime for assisted human reproduction services, storage of gametes (eggs or sperm) and embryos, and research.
However, as time went by changes were made to remove the licensing provisions and instead allow for a ministerial advisory committee to provide advice on technology and research, develop guidelines for permitted activities, and monitor established procedures.
An ethics committee would review all applications for assisted human reproduction that were not established procedures.
Ms Yates today said that the public had to be consulted on issues covered by the guidelines.
"Those who are interested in these areas need to watch the public notices in the newspapers and when public consultation is called for that they actually do monitor and have their say," she told NZPA.
The MP said last night that she was sure Parliament would continue to monitor the application of the legislation.
"It deals with big questions - what it means to be human, who decides which embryo should survive, and who is eligible to access the technology," she said.
Most of the MPs who spoke during the third reading debate supported the legislation and acknowledged that it dealt with a very difficult area.
Some thought it did not go far enough, and was too loose in its controls.
Green MP Sue Kedgley said her party supported the bill reluctantly.
"It sets up one of the weakest regimes in the world," she said.
"It relies on guidelines rather than regulations, it delegates policy-making to a committee of unelected people."
Parties cast split votes on the third reading. All Labour's MPs supported it, as did all the Greens and all the New Zealand First MPs.
National had 22 in favour and five against, ACT two in favour and six against, and United Future two in favour and six against.
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