Proposed IVF law will create 'a new type of orphan' - Bishops

Curia statement says the possibility of situations where the law could increase discrimination between children was "very disquieting"

Government is proposing to allow the freezing of embryos as part of IVF treatment
Government is proposing to allow the freezing of embryos as part of IVF treatment

The Malta Diocese has reacted with grief at the proposed amendments to the Embryo Protection Act, saying it will introduce a “new type of orphan”.

 “…it is with great sadness that we read the proposed amendments to the Embryo Protection Act. It seems that the amendments proposed in the said Bill go against the principal aim of the present law which seeks to assist infertile couples who are in a stable relationship,” reads a statement issued by the Diocese today.

In an appeal directed towards “those who are responsible for this Bill,” Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Bishop Mario Grech asked that they “truly protect life and human dignity and do nothing that will undermine the rights and well being of the child.”

“We Maltese treasure our children and life from the beginning of conception,” said the bishops, adding that they wanted to encourage this positive attitude, expressing their “profound appreciation” to those who strive to give their time and “proper assistance” to infertile couples who desire to have children.

The law as it stands protected the dignity of embryos from beginning of life and throughout their development into childhood by making sure that they are born and raised by their natural mother and father, said the bishops. “Not so in the proposed bill. The child becomes a commodity to satisfy another person’s desires. Anyone who wants a child, whoever he or she may be, can ‘make’ one with the blessing of the proposed law.”

The proposed law introduces the possibility of anonymous donors of gametes, surrogacy and the freezing of embryos, all of which are controversial topics to the Catholic Church. The bishops expressed their concern at the possibility of producing children who might never know their natural mother, father or family. “It is the law itself that makes the child a commodity.”

“The proposed Bill is deliberately introducing a new type of orphans. It is already a source of great pain when children, for one reason or another, are denied the great gift of being raised by their own mother and father. That the law itself is responsible for new situations that will also increase the discrimination between children, is very disquieting.”

Children deserve to be safeguarded in their physical, emotional, psychological, moral, and spiritual needs, argue the bishops. “They are the future generations that will reap what is being sown today.”

Also troubling is the proposal of the freezing of embryos by choice, said the Church leaders. “There are many other ethical problems associated with embryo freezing including the risk that a number of embryos that will be frozen may not be adopted and thus will remain unwanted. Due to adult choices, these children conceived by technology may never see the light of day.”


More in National