Wanted: sperm donor, good looking, high IQ

by Suzanne Vella and Martha Fitz

We would like to voice our concerns in the light of the Equality Act being prepared by the civil liberties minister, Helena Dalli.

We feel that through this Act, the best interest of the child will be weakened and will not have the same significance as given at present through the Convention for the Rights of the Child (Articles 3 and 9), a Convention in which Malta had also agreed with and signed.

This Act will give the possibility to every person, including single women, single men or gay couples to acquire their own children by obtaining egg or sperm from a source. This is so as the Equality Act is going to give access to all medical services including IVF to any marital status.

This will reduce children to the level of a product which is acquired. The idea of receiving one’s child as a gift where the gift determines the conditions, is turned into a commodity which is ordered, many a time according to certain criteria.

As the present IVF legislation stands, children get to enjoy the unity of their biological parents. With the proposed law, some of the children born through IVF will be treated unfairly, because they will be created with the intention of being cut off from their genetic heritage. It is not true that love is enough.

The stories and experiences of youths and adults show that intentionally cutting them off from their original roots has left an effect on their life. As Tom Ellis (donor conceived) put it: “I had been taught by my parents, and at school, that any family is OK so long as somebody loves you. It’s not. I wish it were. I now have a deep need to find out who my father is. I want to know what he looks like, where he is, what he enjoys, which parts of my character I share with him. I need to know who it is that makes me who I am. You can’t put a child or an adult into a situation like this and tell them that all you need is love and care, because it’s not true. You need the genetic links, too.”

What happens during conception, in the womb, at birth and after, are all part of our identity. If we just focus on the adults’ wishes to have a child, we will be compromising on the way children enter this life. With this new law it is easy to create a new culture that children are there to make adults happy and not that parents are there for the children. 

The present Embryo Protection Act will be forced into change with this new law. Even though we are being told that there is room for consultation, in reality we know that everything has already been planned and promised from the LGBTIQ Action Plan 2015-2017, of the same ministry of Dr Helena Dalli, as indicated in page 11 no 4.4 of this document: “Remove all obstacles that impede the right to private and family life on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics by: Conducting a review of the constitutionality of the provisions within the Embryo Protection Act that de facto exclude lesbians from the ability to receive treatment.”

We are also disappointed that the Opposition Party is not taking part in this debate. What does the statement by Simon Busuttil to MaltaToday (18 February) “We stand by the embryo protection law” really mean in the light of all this?

Every relationship is equal in dignity and respect. But not every relationship is the same. In this regard, this Act is more about sameness than equality. A child has a right to both his or her parents. As the American College of Paediatricians put it, biology matters: “Depriving a child of one or both biologic parents, is unhealthy.” [http://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/parenting-issues/homosexual-parenting-is-it-time-for-change].

Purposefully denying the child a mother or a father is an injustice towards the child.

We appeal to all those who have the children’s well-being at heart to do something.

Suzanne Vella and Martha Fitz are mums. They run the Facebook group ‘Save The Embryo Protection Act, Malta’