Current Affairs
Government accepts proposal for number of frozen embryos in every cycle to be determined by agreement between persons undergoing IVF and multi-disciplinary team

Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne has accepted a proposal by Nationalist MP Maria Fatima Deguara for an amendment to the Embryo Protection Act, so that the number of frozen embryos in every cycle is determined by agreement between the persons undergoing the IVF and the multi-disciplinary team under the guidance of the Embryo Protection Act, but no more than five embryos can be fertilised in each case.

Dr Fearne announced this during the Parliamentary Committee for consideration of laws. Opposition spokesman Claudio Grech stated that the Opposition was not in agreement, and wanted to see the amendment.

Minister Fearne stated that in regard to this amendment he would be moving the protocol which regulates this procedure for approval by the Health Parliamentary Committee.

The Opposition spokesman for Health, Stephen Spiteri, had earlier stated that it was a medical fact that IVF successes increase through embryo freezing. Dr Spiteri added that a compromise could be reached, with both sides ensuring that frozen embryos are not exposed to danger.

Minister Fearne also proposed a new amendment through which frozen embryos of Maltese persons outside the country are brought to Malta to be given a chance of life.

Dr Schembri Wismayer, a geneticist and lecturer at the University of Malta, explined that the success rate for births through IVF has dropped from 29% to 20% in the past two years, because the medical authorities are coming up against more difficult cases of persons who are unable to have children.

Minister Fearne replied that Government was introducing this law in order to help these couples.

Dr Michael Axiaq stated that the amendments on embryo freezing go against the Constitution, because medical experts use the best embryos for implantation in the womb, whereas the weak ones are discarded in a manner which should be considered a threat to life.

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