Embryo genetic testing in IVF clears committee stage

Amendments to the IVF law proposed by the government have cleared the committee stage and are now one vote away from becoming law

IVF amendments clear committee stage
IVF amendments clear committee stage

Changes proposed to the in-vitro fertilisation law by the government, including the introduction of embryo genetic testing, cleared parliament’s committee stage on Monday.

The amendments passed with minimal changes, paving the way for pre-implantation genetic testing of embryos to become part of the IVF process. The last step is the final vote at Third Reading stage in the plenary.

Two protocols drawn up by the Embryo Protection Authority, which were tabled by Health Minister Chris Fearne alongside the legal amendments, will now be discussed by parliament’s Health Committee. One of the protocols includes criteria outlining eligibility for PGT and which inheritable disorders can be tested for.

The protocol currently lists nine diseases and conditions, including Huntington’s.

An amendment proposed by the Opposition includes the need for protocols to be introduced or amended by Legal Notice.

An initial proposal by the Opposition tightening the reference to PGT was immediately shot down by government MPs until compromise was reached that did not change the thrust of government’s proposal to allow specialists to choose the best care possible for their patients.