No PN MPs requested free vote on IVF law, Bernard Grech says

There are no plans for the Nationalist Party to request a free vote in tomorrow’s parliamentary sitting that will decide on amendments to Malta’s IVF law, according to party leader Bernard Grech. 

In comments to MaltaToday, Grech said that no one in the parliamentary group had requested to discuss a free vote on the law, nor to actually resort to a free vote in the third reading of the bill. 

“The parliamentary group’s discussions, and the amendments accepted, led the Nationalist Party to its final position and to vote in favour,” Grech said.

His comment comes after his predecessor and current MP Adrian Delia took to Facebook to say he is wholly against introducing embryo genetic testing, a key amendment being proposed to Malta’s IVF laws.

In comments to the press, Delia said he will vote on the laws according to his conscience. 

Malta’s new IVF laws are set to introduce PGT-M, a procedure that allows couples with a history of hereditary diseases to screen their embryos before implantation. 

In Malta, the procedure will be limited to screening nine serious monogenic disorders such as Huntington’s Disease and gangliosidosis. If an embryo is found to have one of these conditions, it will be cryopreserved and offered to the parents or put up for adoption.

Grech insisted that the Nationalist Party remains pro-life, and that the IVF reform strikes a balance because of amendments to the bill put forward by the party itself.

“The balance struck after the amendments were put forward by the party led the parliamentary group to decide to vote in favour of the law as amended,” he said.

He added that the party discussed the reforms with medical and ethical experts before tabling it’s own amendments.

One of the amendments brough forward by the party was to introduce polar body testing, allowing couples to test for chromosomal aneuploidies and maternally inherited translocation before fertilisation.

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