PN MPs to discuss IVF amendments ‘in coming days’

The Nationalist Party parliamentary group will be deciding what stand to take on IVF proposals that include genetic testing of embryos for serious hereditary diseases

In the last raft of changes to the IVF law in 2018, PN MPs were given a free vote.
In the last raft of changes to the IVF law in 2018, PN MPs were given a free vote.

Nationalist MPs will be meeting over the coming days to agree on their stand on proposed changes to the in-vitro fertilisation law, which include embryo genetic testing.

“The PN parliamentary group will be meeting in the coming days to discuss the proposed amendments,” a spokesperson for the party told MaltaToday.

The IVF law was changed last in 2018 when government made infertility treatment more accessible to single and lesbian women, introduced embryo freezing as part of the treatment process and allowed sperm and egg donation.

Back then, PN leader Adrian Delia had given his MPs a free vote in parliament on the basis that this was a moral issue. 

The new amendments put forward by Health Minister Chris Fearne last week make it possible for pre-implantation genetic testing for monogenetic disorders (PGT-M) to take place in cases where prospective parents have a history of serious hereditary conditions or disease.

The process can be ethically contentious for some because embryos found to be carrying the defective genes are either discarded, given up for research or kept frozen in perpetuity. Government’s proposal stipulates that these embryos will remain frozen thus avoiding any conflict with Malta’s strict anti-abortion law.

Speaking on TVM News Plus’ Xtra on Monday night, Fearne said the parliamentary debate on the IVF amendments is expected to start next week. Government wants the parliamentary process to be concluded before the summer recess.