Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Malta Today: ‘Having children is not a right’ – pro-lifers on IVF

Gift Of Life supporting IVF bill over ban on embryo freezing.
Friday 3 August 2012 - 15:14, Matthew Vella

The organisation insisted, without quoting any specific data, that IVF remains an “inefficient technique” with a very high failure rate.

Pro-lifers Gift Of Life have welcomed the Embryo Protection bill that will regulate IVF in Malta, saying the law was necessary due to the lack of regulation over private clinics in the protection of embryos and prospective parents.

"The law being proposed also addresses and restricts the most troublesome aspects of the treatment, such as freezing, and selection and experimentation on human embryos, issues that Gift of Life has campaigned against since 2004," GOL said in a statement.

"Significantly, for the first time in local law, the human embryo is specifically being seen as worthy of full protection, even from the moment of fertilization."

But the organisation insisted, without quoting any specific data, that IVF remains an "inefficient technique" with a very high failure rate.

"Having a child is not a right but always profound responsibility," the organisation said.

The draft law has received the support of the National Council of Women, but the Malta Gay Rights Movement attacked the bill for being "inherently homophobic".

The National Council of Women has come out in support of the draft IVF law that seeks to ban the freezing of embryos and instead introduce oocyte vitrification, or egg freezing, to skirt the ethical dilemma of what to do with supernumerary embryos.

The bill bans the donation of eggs and sperm that would otherwise allow single parents or gay couples to have a family using IVF. The new law will only allow the fertilisation of two eggs at a time, while the rest of the harvested eggs will be frozen. Embryos will only be frozen in extreme cases where there is no option to implant the blastocyst.

Justice minister Chris Said has defended the ban on gay parents to have children using IVF, which excludes same-sex couples, saying the government's interest is for children to be brought up in a family with a mother and a father.

Prospective parents have to be certified by the new embryology authority, which according to the draft Embryo Protection law can only be married couples or opposite-sex couples in a stable relationship.

The Malta Gay Rights Movement hashit out at Malta's draft law, claiming the Embryo Protection Bill was discriminatory against gay parents and "inherently homophobic in nature".

MGRM coordinator Gabi Calleja said the exclusion of same-sex couples and single persons from the eligible prospective parents as defined in the law, went against basic human rights principles such as the right to found a family.

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