Updated | Malta Infertility Network takes exception to Simon Busuttil’s IVF comments

Network appeals for caution when speaking about the subject

The Malta Infertility Network has taken exception to Nationalist Party MP Simon Busuttil's comments regarding the proposed IVF law changes
The Malta Infertility Network has taken exception to Nationalist Party MP Simon Busuttil's comments regarding the proposed IVF law changes

Updated with Simon Busuttil's reaction

The Malta Infertility Network has said that Nationalist MP Simon Busuttil’s comments regarding IVF law changes in Parliament yesterday - where he voiced his views against embryo freezing, and surrogacy - hurt many couples who are experiencing infertility.

Busuttil had said that we cannot do things which pertain to matters greater than us, such as giving the right to create a baby when “nature and God” did not give us such a right.

The group appealed for caution when speaking about the subject, especially on matters related to couples who are undergoing IVF treatment, and new families where the children were born using fertility treatment, including gamete donation, the freezing of embryos and surrogacy.

“In this context, the network maintains that children are not ‘a right’ for couples suffering from infertility, but it fully believes that such couples should have the best opportunities to have children using the different fertility treatments available,” it said, “The group points out that one in six couples suffer from this medical condition, making treatment not an extravagance but a medical need.

Labour Party statement

The Labour Party said in a statement that the attitude demonstrated by certain members of the Opposition, particularly Simon Busuttil, during the IVF law discussion, is unacceptable.

“Busuttil said that when nature creates a problem, couples affected by it should just live with it. This is not acceptable reasoning for the Labour Party, since science nowadays offers solutions which are already being used in the majority of developed countries,” the party said.

“In fact, in the second reading part of the IVF changes debate highlighted the differences between the government and the Opposition.”

The PL underscored that while PL MPs spoke of the need to understand those going through infertility problems, Opposition MPs were again insensitive towards families which need the law to be changed, with the hope of becoming parents themselves..

“The insensitivity reached its peak in Busuttil’s statements in Parliament yesterday,” it said.

Simon Busuttil’s reaction to PL statement

In a reaction, Busuttil said that Labour had "just ignored the President’s appeal for sensitivity on IVF."

"It is truly regrettable that, instead of checking out what I actually said in Parliament on the Embryo Protection (Amendment) Bill, the Malta Infertility Network appears to have relied on the Labour Party’s spin," he said.

He emphasised that, in Parliament, he had repeatedly stated that he was in favour of IVF to help couples experiencing difficulties with having children, and had highlighted that it was a PN government that introduced the law in the first place.

"The Labour spin that I am against IVF is completely false," he emphasised.

"In my speech I went on to explain that I am against embryo freezing because, in oocyte vitrification, we already have a viable alternative that does not pose ethical pitfalls. I also explained that I am against surrogacy which, all feminists agree, amounts to nothing short of exploitation of women. In fact, surrogacy is being banned in countries like Sweden regardless of whether it is commercial or altruistic," Busuttil said. 

"It is a pity that the heartfelt appeal by the President of Malta for a dignified debate on the sensitive issue of embryo freezing and surrogacy fell on deaf ears. And Labour’s spin shows just where the real insensitivity lies," he added.

Simon Busuttil's tweet in reaction to the Labour Party's statements on his parliamentary comments
Simon Busuttil's tweet in reaction to the Labour Party's statements on his parliamentary comments

Earlier, Busuttil had said on Twitter that the President’s “heartfelt appeal for a dignified parliamentary debate” on embryo freezing and surrogacy had fallen “on deaf ears”.

He also maintained that the Labour Party media had distorted his parliamentary speech “beyond recognition” in their reports on it.

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