Regulating number of embryos per IVF cycle safeguards the baby, doctors say

Professors and doctors urge Parliament to ensure the law is restricted to a maximum of two embryos transferred per IVF cycle.

The Paediatric Association warned that '90% of triplets are born prematurely, have a high risk of death and a high risk of brain damage with permanent disabilities and numerous other complications'.
The Paediatric Association warned that '90% of triplets are born prematurely, have a high risk of death and a high risk of brain damage with permanent disabilities and numerous other complications'.

The Malta Paediatric Association has insisted for the effective regulation on the number of embryos that may be legally transferred in any single in-vitro fertilisation cycle.

"Members of Parliament should ensure that the law restricts to a maximum of two the embryos transferred per IVF cycle, as per all regulated European countries, and to clearly define the exceptions to this general rule," association president Prof Thomas Attard said in a statement.

Attard said that this was important in order to minimize the risk of medical complications to infants.

"Unregulated IVF frequently results in triplets and since 90% of triplets are born prematurely, they have a high risk of death and a high risk of brain damage with permanent disabilities and numerous other complications," he said.

IVF is regulated in all European countries, employing different means and strategies, with the intention of minimizing the risk to babies associated with multi-foetal pregnancies.

"Obstetricians who practice IVF should welcome an evidence-based protocol to achieve a good success rate, the protection of human life from its beginning and the safeguarding of children born from this process," Attard insisted.

Through the enactment of the IVF law, an authority will be set up. One of its responsibilities will be to regulate the recipients of free IVF.

With reference to this committee, Attard said: "The law should also empower the regulatory authority to establish and enforce the norms for best practice."

The Association warned that unless the law included such provisions, "it would not provide any safeguards to the life and health of children born from assisted reproductive techniques".

The bill which is being debated before the House says that no more than two ova can be fertilised during each fertilisation cycle. However, the Labour Party said that the law should not limit the number of eggs that get fertilized, and that this should be decided by best medical practice according to the consultant overseeing the infertile couple's IVF treatment.

More in Health