[WATCH] People resorting to PGT are not seeking easiest way out, priest says

Xtra on TVM News Plus | Fr Colin Apap speaks on embryo genetic testing and how people with a risk of passing hereditary disease are justified in using PGT

Fr Colin Apap (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Fr Colin Apap (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

People who resort to embryo genetic testing to avoid passing on a hereditary disease to their children are justified to do so, Fr Colin Apap said.

The priest said it is insensitive to accuse these people of trying to take the easy way out when he was being interviewed on TVM News Plus’ Xtra on Monday night.

“People with a risk of passing on a hereditary disease and who want to have healthy children are not looking for the easiest way out. I have lived with these people and witnessed the pain they go through every time they lose a child. It is insensitive to say so,” Apap said.

His position jars with the official position adopted by the Catholic church and several pro-life groups that raised concerns over pre-implantation genetic testing, claiming it causes discrimination against sick and disabled people.

Government has proposed changes to the in-vitro fertilisation law, including the introduction of PGT as part of the treatment for couples with the risk of passing on serious genetic diseases to their offspring. The amendments cleared committee stage on Monday and a final vote in parliament is expected next week.

The Opposition initially opposed PGT but later moderated its position and eventually dropped its objections.

Asked how he could continue to function in the Catholic church when his personal position on a number of issues was at loggerheads with the official line, Apap said it was a mistake to look at the organisation as one body.

“In church, there is no one team or one school of thought,” Apap said, referencing thinker Fr Peter Serracino Inglott, who had voiced several views on IVF and embryo freezing 17 years ago that were not in line with the official church position.

Apap said the big question is when does a fertilised egg become a human person. “I once had a discussion with medical experts and the person told me that the question of when human life begins is a philosophical one and not medical. This opened a different point of view to me. In situations concerning the beginning and the end of life we can become very emotional,” Apap said.

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