Report on the Departmental Committee on Human Artificial Insemination1

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1961.tb00660.x
AuthorRobert S. W. Pollard
Publication Date01 Jan 1961
REPORTS
OF
COMMITTEES
REPORT
ON
THE
DEPAI~TMENTAL COMMITTEE
ON
HUMAN
ARTIFICIAL
INSEMINATION
1
IN
the evidence of the Marriage Law Reform Society to the Royal
Commission
on
Marriage and Divorce,* the Society included a
Chapter
on
artificial insemination.
It
first mentioned artificial
insemination by the husband (A.I.H.) but thought that
no,
di5culty
appeared to arise in connection with
it.
DifEculties might, how-
ever, arise over A.I.D. (artificial insemination of a wife by a donor
who is not the husband). The most authoritative exposition of the
law
on
A.I.D. then was the speech made by the President of the
Divorce Division in the House of Lords
on
March
16,
1949,
when
he replied to the Archbishop of Canterbury who had suggested that
A.I.D. ought to be made a criminal offence and said that
it
con-
stituted adultery under the present law. The President disagreed.
He considered that sexual -intercourse was necessary to constitute
adultery and A.I.D. was not adultery. The Society assumed, there-
fore, that
no
husband at present could obtain a divorce because
his wife had been artificially inseminated otherwise than by him
although he might be able to get a decree of nullity if the marriage
had not been properly consummated. The Society pointed out
that criminal offences, however, might be committed where a child
was born through A.I.D. because this might lead to false statements
in the register of births. Moreover difficulties of property might
arise. The Society concluded that, in view of the steady increase
in
the practice of artacial insemination, some changes
in
the law
were desirable,
viz.,
(1)
where the consent of the husband
is
obtained, either to A.I.H.
or
A.I.D., he should for all purposes,
such as registration, be legally deemed to be the father of the
child and
(2)
there should be
no
possibility that the act
if
done
with consent should be considered as adultery, but, when consent
is not obtained, A.I.D. should be regarded as adultery and the
husband be able to disclaim paternity.
A member of the Royal Commission, Sir Russell Brain, asked
some questions about this evidence of the witnesses
from
the
Society and in particular he seemed to doubt
if
the number
of
cases of human artificial insemination was in fact increasing. He
is now answered authoritatively by the Report of the Departmental
Committee
5
who give some figures and say that undoubtedly
1
Cmnd.
1106,
H.M.
Stationery Office, July
1960,
price
5s.
6d.
2
Paper
No.
23,
Evidence 9th day.
H.M.
Stationery Office
1953,
price
6e.
8
No.
25.
4
Minutes
of
Evidence,
p.
262,
No.
1868
et
seq.
(June
10, 1958).
5
p.
7,
para
23
of
the Report.
Para.
22.
158

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT