Pro-life group tears into proposed changes to IVF law

The Life Network Foundation says new law will create ethical and legal problems for children born from in-vitro fertilisation

Pro-life group says proposed changes to IVF law are not in the child's best interest
Pro-life group says proposed changes to IVF law are not in the child's best interest

A pro-life group has raised concerns over proposed changes to the Embryo Protection Act, which it says gives short shrift to the legal and ethical issues involved.  

Life Network Foundation chairperson, Miriam Sciberras, was critical of changes that will change the definition of prospective parents, the introduction of anonymous gamete donation and embryo freezing.

Sciberras also criticised the proposal to start a consultation process on altruistic surrogacy. She said surrogacy turned women into objects and ignored the importance of the bond that develops during pregnancy between the mother and the child.

The wider definition of parents would allow, among others, single women to make use of in-vitro fertilisation treatment. The changes also propose the introduction of anonymous sperm and egg donation.

Read also: Sweeping changes to IVF law will give Malta's lesbians, single and infertile women new hope

Sciberras said that through its actions the State would effectively be encouraging single parenting and unknown fathers, by choice.

“Whereas until now, the State has provided help to single mothers, it will now actively encourage this,” she said.

Sciberras insisted that anonymous gamete donations went against the child’s right to know its identity, including the biological parents.

She noted that in the UK, anonymous gamete donation was stopped after a donor-conceived woman, Joanna Rose, won a court case in which she argued that donor anonymity deprived her of the right to know her identity.

Sciberras said the introduction of anonymous gamete donation was being done through a single line in the law, skirting the serious ethical dilemmas it could create.

“A register that provides only medical information is not enough because it fails to answer questions linked to identity. How would they know who their biological brothers or sisters are?”

Sciberras said the introduction of embryo freezing as part of the IVF treatment will commodify embryos and render them objects. She said freezing puts embryos through the risk of “losing their life”.

She also noted the legal complications that could arise over the ownership of frozen embryos if the couple that produced them separated.

Sciberras said the proposed changes ignored the child’s best interest.