The Maltese government gave its strongest sign yet it is ready to legalise gamete donation so as to allow lesbian couples to give birth to their own children.
“We are internally discussing updates to our IVF law and plan to present a Bill within the coming months, but my position is clear – LGBT people should be allowed to give birth to their own children,” health minister Chris Fearne told a press conference. “Our current IVF law is discriminatory and Labour’s electoral manifesto clearly included a pledge to make it more inclusive to lesbian women.”
However, he was coy on whether the government also intends to legalise surrogacy, rebutting a PN journalist who suggested the reproductive technique was also on Labour’s agenda.
“Who said anything about surrogacy? You’re the one bringing it up,” he said.
Adrian Delia’s first parliamentary move was to object to vacation leave for lesbian couples seeking IVF abroad
Meanwhile, civil liberties minister Helena Dalli said lesbians are suffering as a result of the current IVF law, which only caters for heterosexual couples.
The two ministers convened a press conference at Parliament to condemn PN leader Adrian Delia’s recent motion to amend a law which grants vacation leave to people undergoing IVF treatment, so as to render inapplicable lesbian couples and infertile women seeking gamete donation treatment abroad.
The PN are arguing the legal notice must get in line with the Embryo Protection Act of 2012, which only recognises IVF for heterosexual couples.
“When I first read the reports, I thought it was fake news,” Dalli said. “Social partners had agreed to this legal notice and Malta’s Constitution clearly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The PN’s motion is quite frankly offensive, and shows the party now wants to discriminate against lesbian couples by refusing them access to vacation leave. These people are already suffering as a result of the current IVF law and need our empathy, not discrimination.”
Sperm and egg donation are currently illegal in Malta
Fearne ripped into Delia as an “extreme social conservative who wants to turn back the clock”.
“IVF is a medical treatment, and no medical treatment should be denied to people on the basis of their sexual orientation,” he said. “While Labour is progressing along with society, the PN has become so regressive that it now even wants to deny lesbian couples from accessing medical treatment abroad.”
Both ministers were quick to reject suggestions the government could also grant vacation leave to Maltese women getting abortions abroad.
“IVF is about procreation, while abortion is about the extermination of life…two very different topics,” Fearne said.