Thousands march against embryo freezing in Malta
23 April 2018
Dr Joanna Rose speaks of her sadness that her children will never know their grandparents because of her conception through anonymous sperm donation.
"The absolute majority in Malta is in favour of life."
Thousands of people marched through the streets of Valletta yesterday in protest against a a proposed IVF law that would legalise embryo freezing, gamete donation and non-commercial surrogacy.
One of us
The demonstration was organised by Life Network Foundation Malta, and participants marched with placards such as 'Embryos are one of us', 'I am not an object' and 'Why shouldn’t I have the right to know my mother?' A large sign with the words 'We have abandoned our conscience in the name of equality' hung above Republic Street, where the Maltese Parliament is, and protesters even left two freezers outside Parliament with warnings against embryo freezing.
Photos on the Life Network Foundation website.
Maltese law currently allows couples undergoing IVF to fertilise two eggs and implant them both in the womb. The proposed change would allow couples to fertilise up to five eggs, but the rule on implanting two would stand, meaning "spare" embryos would be frozen.
Also controversial is the proposal that if a woman doesn't use her frozen embryos by the age of 43, the state will automatically seize control of these embryos and will put them up for "adoption" into another woman’s womb. Once the adoption takes place, the birth parents will lose all their rights and obligations on their embryos.
The Bill would also allow single women and lesbian couples to access IVF, introduce both anonymous and non-anonymous sperm and egg donation, and legalise non-commercial surrogacy in specific cases.
"A social experiment"
One passionate speaker was British doctor Joanna Rose, who was conceived through anonymous sperm donation and says she has around 300 biological siblings as a result.
Dr Rose addresses the crowd. Video: Archdiocese of Malta
She spoke of her sadness about her children not knowing who their maternal grandparents are, and called anonymous donor conception a "social experiment", and not normal. "Anonymous donation is so wrong," she said.
Three bishops were present, and several politicians. Opposition leader Adrian Delia said: "The absolute majority in Malta is in favour of life and the government is proposing a Bill that doesn’t protect life, which I will vote against out of conscience. The so-called government that listens must listen to the people who took to the streets today in their thousands."
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