A declaration signed by over 500 doctors has just been submitted to Malta’s Health Minister, Chris Fearne, to urge him to remember that “life begins at conception” and to highlight their opposition to the government’s draft bill. The bill would authorise embryo freezing in Malta.
The 524 doctors, including both specialists and general practitioners, have clearly stated that they are not against measures to help infertile couples per se, but oppose the freezing of embryos as a “routine part” of medically assisted reproduction.
“At fertilisation, a new human life is formed, with a unique and complete genetic identity, distinct from the parents”, the doctors explain in the statement, adding that, “every human life, once formed, should be allowed to continue its gestational development, without interruption, until birth or natural foetal demise”.
The doctors also affirmed that, “each embryo was a human life worthy of dignity and protection that deserved the opportunity to achieve its potential”.
The Maltese government is facing strong opposition about the draft bill, and has already had to back-track on several points. Surrogacy is no longer part of the debate as the government acknowledges the fact that“such a measure required deep and comprehensive discussion “. Children born through gamete donation will ultimately have access to their origins as soon as they reach adulthood. As for the authorisation to freeze embryos, it is still in place “despite warnings and fierce criticism from both a medical and ethical perspective “.
The doctors who have signed the petition note that when a medical decision is taken, it must be in “the best interests of all the parties involved” to “maintain the ethical practice” to honour the maxim “first do no harm”.
For further reading:
Times of Malta, Keith Micallef (06/06/2018)