N IVF babies requiring intensive o Protection Bill – Godfrey Farrugia
Reduction in number of pre-term babies born from IVF will result in new amendments Chris Fearne
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne explained that the amendments to the Embryo Protection Act that are currently being discussed in Parliament will actually have the opposite effect to that which Godfrey Farrugia is claiming. He described how, contrary to today’s practice, under the amendments to the Act only two embryos will be implanted per cycle. This will result in fewer multiple births, which are the babies that are usually preterm and, as a result, need treatment in the NPICU. He explained that IVF babies did not necessarily have a predisposition to being born small unless they were multiples. The current law actually prohibits the implantation of more than two embryos, but it does allow for an extra embryo to be implanted in exceptional circumstances. He confirmed that this is not so much the exception at moment. Fearne also mentioned that in the coming weeks there will be an expansion of the NPICU. his disagreement with embryo freezing – highlighting the psychological effect it will have on the couple. He feels that a couple knowing that they have embryos frozen will suffer major stress, considering that if they do not make use of these embryos they will have to go for adoption. Although he believes everyone has a choice, Farrugia says that two principles need to be followed: that of the right to life – which he believes starts at conception – and the right to equity which he says is not being observed when one is choosing between one embryo and the other.
Under the current law, there is an exception to allow for embryo freezing if the fertilised egg is not able to be transferred to the women in grave situations. This is an exception to the rule and now he says it is going to be applied as a norm, with the amendments to the Embryo Protection Bill.