IVF Bill will soon be in Parliament
A Bill regulating in-vitro fertilisation will be presented in Parliament “in the coming weeks”, according to the Social Policy Ministry.
The Ministry did not specify when but insisted the Bill will safeguard the rights of parents, the embryos and children born as a result of IVF.
The Bill will also make provisions for the service to be offered at the state hospital, Mater Dei.
In-vitro fertilisation is a medical process where conception happens in a petridish and continues in the mother’s womb. Although the process has been available for more than 20 years at a high cost in private hospitals, the sector is unregulated.
The Bill has been long in coming and the first comprehensive report to be drawn up by a parliamentary committee goes back to 2005. It had to be presented by the end of last year but the pledge made by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi was not fulfilled.
The Ministry was reacting to a statement by Labour leader Joseph Muscat on Sunday, who criticised the government for procrastinating on the issue.
A law regulating IVF will be one of the first laws a Labour government would enact, Dr Muscat said.
Every minute lost waiting to introduce such a law, Dr Muscat charged, was a minute denied to women who had difficulties to conceive naturally.
Dr Muscat was referring to the fact that lack of regulation prevented IVF from being offered on the national health service but the ministry rebutted by pointing out that IVF has been practised in Malta for 20 years.
“It is not true women have been denied the opportunity to have children with IVF,” the ministry said.
Around 750 women got pregnant through IVF cycles, it added.