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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Proposals on surrogacy, embryo freezing, raise tough questions

Experts consulted by the Times of Malta stand united against surrogacy but are divided on a proposal to allow embryo freezing.

As the government reviews the IVF law, Nisa Laburisti have urged the government to consider the introduction of surrogacy and embryo freezing.

Paul Sultana, IVF practitioner and laboratory director at Saint James Hospital, said he has his reservations on surrogacy. “I’m not against gay couples having children, but there are consequences of surrogacy. Basically, you’re hiring a womb and with that come ramifications, such as that of payment.”

Faculty of Theology dean Fr Emmanuel Agius said a balance had to be struck between a couple’s desire for children and the rights of the prospective child. Surrogacy flung the door wide open for the commercialisation of women’s wombs and rendered children a commodity to be sold. What would the emotional effects be on a woman who, following the bond established during gestation, would have to give up the baby?

Charles Savona Ventura, head of obstetrics and gynaecology, said there were situations where surrogacy could be contemplated such as with women who had no uterus either through a congenital malformation or surgery. But it was despicable if surrogacy was undertaken simply because a woman did not wish to go through the travail of pregnancy and childbirth because of body changes and career.

Mr Sultana said he was in favour of embryo freezing as it allowed for the best success rate with the least negative outcomes.

But Fr Agius asked what the moral and legal status of the embryo was. "Science is clear: an embryo is the beginning of human life. What Nisa Laburisti is proposing is the destruction of human life,” he said.
Fr Sultana asked what would happen to the frozen embryos once years went by and they were not thawed.


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