[WATCH] Consultations with NGOs on IVF amendments are underway, Health Minister vows

Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne said that various stakeholders are demanding different aspects of the amendment to be changed, adding that he is still open to discussing with interested parties

Health Minister Chris Fearne on consulting NGOs on IVF law

Discussions with various stakeholders on amendments to the IVF law are still in the pipeline, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne told this newspaper.

Fearne was asked to react to a statement released by Aditus Foundation who said that the bill raises serious human rights concerns.

“Some entities want less, some want more, while others are proposing a totally different format,” Fearne said.

The minister stated that those who wish to bring forward their ideas on the subject are welcome to do so, with the vote in parliament due for 23 May.

The statement released by Aditus foundation welcomed Fearne’s decision to overturn the discriminatory ban on access to medically assisted procreation for same-sex couples.

Aditus expressed concern over the proposed procedure by which embryos under specific conditions can be donated or adopted, claiming that this might pave the way for forced adoption.

“We feel that the proposed procedure could be tantamount to a forced adoption,” Aditus stated.

Aditus also claimed that despite Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating that a state must permit, encourage and support the foundation of families, there is no rule that forces the state to provide medically assisted procreation services.

“We are not convinced that the Embryo Protection Authority and the related Protocol – as yet unpublished – are able to guarantee the best interests of the adopted embryos,” they said.

Aditus also raised concern over the eligibility and suitability of the adoptive parents in the adoption of the embryo, claiming that the nature of the adoption and the donation itself is still unclear.

The ethical and social issues of surrogacy have not been discussed on a deeper level, with Aditus stating that their experiences with marginalised and vulnerable women forces them to advocate for an extremely cautious approach.

Aditus urged the minister to opt for a slower and more inclusive consultation process, calling for the ministry to organise stakeholder meetings on specific aspects of the proposed amendments.

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