Labour’s women section calls for IVF reform

Parliamentary secretary for health Chris Fearne urged to reform IVF law to give families “a better chance”

Labour women section officials Josianne Cutajar, Nikita Zammit Alamango and Claudette Abela Baldacchino called on junior minister Chris Fearne to reform the IVF law
Labour women section officials Josianne Cutajar, Nikita Zammit Alamango and Claudette Abela Baldacchino called on junior minister Chris Fearne to reform the IVF law

Labour’s women section called on parliamentary secretary for health Chris Fearne to reform the law regulating IVF in order to give families “a better chance."

In a meeting with Fearne, section president and former MEP Claudette Abela Baldacchino requested a meeting with the Working Group created to review the law.

On his part, Fearne explained that the intra-ministerial Working Group includes representatives of the health, civil liberties and justice ministries and experts who are currently reviewing the law introduced in 2013.

Controversially the law introduced by the previous Nationalist administration bans embryo freezing and embraced the novel science of freezing the female gametes - ova - which are then fertilised in pairs: after harvesting, two eggs are fertilised with sperm, while the rest of the eggs are frozen for later use.

Unlike embryo freezing, vitrification skirts the ethical dilemmas of leaving 'unclaimed' human embryos in freezers. No more than two ova can be fertilised during each fertilisation cycle, and access to IVF is regulated by an embryology authority to decide who is entitled to the free treatment.

Baldacchino and her collegues also highlighted the importance of sexual education and awareness campaigns on screening programmes to detect breast cancer as early as possible.

While pointing out that screening programmes have been extended to cover women aged 55 to 65, Fearne announced that government would be launching an app to provide guidance and information about breast cancer.

He also said that the health division would soon be setting up a mobile clinic at the University of Malta to raise awareness on sexual health and STDs.

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