N IVF ba­bies re­quir­ing in­ten­sive o Pro­tec­tion Bill – God­frey Far­ru­gia

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

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.

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