Georgia’s First-in-Nation Embryo Adoption Bill Heads to Governor Sonny Perdue

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 5, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Georgia’s First-in-Nation Embryo Adoption Bill Heads to Governor Sonny Perdue

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 5
, 2009

Atlanta, GA ( — The Georgia state House, with a vote of 108 to 61, sent the nation’s first-ever embryo adoption bill, HB 388, to the desk of Governor Sonny Perdue for him to sign into law. The Option of Adoption Act helps offer protection for unique human beings who are stored in fertility clinics.

This bill allows for embryos who are currently in cryopreservation to have the legal right to adoption as human beings in accordance with Georgia child adoption laws.

This bill also ensures that the adoption of human embryos will no longer be carried out as a form of contract or property law. HB 388 helps to clarify the rights of genetic and adoptive parents and promotes the best interest of the child.

"We are pleased that we are making headway in our goal of establishing personhood for the pre-born," Daniel Becker, the president of Georgia Right to Life, told "Gone are the terms designating the human child at an embryonic stage as property … devoid of rights."

The language of the bill stops short of declaring full personhood for the child but does introduce new terms that acknowledge for the first time that an embryo has "rights and responsibilities" that are owed under Georgia law.

"Legal embryo custodian" replaces "embryo donor" throughout Georgia’s new code sections dealing with embryo adoption.

No longer is an embryo described as being "donated" by its genetic parent.

"Gametes, cars, old clothes and other property are ‘donated’" says the bill’s author, House Rep. James Mills, "not children … they are adopted."

The bill also clarifies that an embryo’s life begins "at a single-celled" stage.

"This is an important distinction as we see the medical community attempt to lessen the personhood of an embryo by re-defining a zygote to be a ‘pre-embryo’" says Becker.

"Estimates are that over 40,000 cryo-preserved human embryos are abiding in concentration cans in our state," Becker adds. "This will allow them an opportunity to have a birthday."

It is also possible that a Federal Adoption Tax Credit will now be available to parents to offset the legal costs of adoption. The limit under IRS guidelines is $11,500.

"We look forward next year to the passage of a companion bill, SB 169, the Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos. This would effectively ban therapeutic and reproductive cloning, destructive embryonic stem cell research and human/animal hybrids." says Becker.

The Georgia Senate had passed SB 169 by a vote of 34 to 22.

Related web sites:
Georgia Right to Life –

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