Ga. House Passes Nation's First Embryo Adoption Bill

The nation's first ever bill permitting the adoption of embryos was approved Friday by the Georgia House.

The House voted 108-61.

Called the "Option of Adoption Act," the measure is designed to prevent an embryo donor from later claiming the child born from that embryo to another family, according to The Associated Press.

It specifically provides procedures for the genetic parents to relinquish their rights to embryos before birth and allow the recipient intended parents to be the legal parents of the child that may be born as a result of embryo transfer.

Additionally, the bill changes the definition of "child" to include a human embryo and offers the same legal rights to adoption as human beings.

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

As defined by the bill, a human embryo is a fertilized egg, from the single-cell stage to 8-week development.

Language in the bill stops short of granting an embryo its own rights and does not create personhood for embryos.

Still, pro-lifers in Georgia are pleased that progress is being made toward the personhood of embryos.

The bill's author, House Rep. James Mills, said he believes that an embryo is a person, according to Gainesville's The Times.

The measure also no longer describes an embryo as being "donated."

"Gametes, cars, old clothes and other property are 'donated,' not children ... they are adopted," said Mills, according to Georgia Right to Life.

The Option of Adoption Act now heads to Gov. Sonny Perdue, who is expected to sign it into law.

Georgia lawmakers are also considering another related measure, called the Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act, which would restrict the creation of embryos for research, scientific or destructive purposes. The Georgia Senate passed the legislation last month.