aditus & MGRM Joint Submission on the ‘Embryo Protection Act’


On 30 July 2015 the Parliamentary Secretariat for Health issued a Press Release (PR 151745) inviting feedback on Malta’s IVF legal framework. We understand that the aim of this request is to review the current regime and bring it in line with other relevant legal norms as well as ECtHR jurisprudence.

aditus foundation and MGRM welcome this initiative and are happy to share their views in this document. We look forward to discussing this feedback with the Secretariat and with the Inter- Ministerial IVF Review Working Committee.

Our Joint Submission to the Ministry focuses on three main points, largely echoing our initial reactions to the Act:

  1. the ‘Embryo Protection Act’ is an unashamedly homophobic law, also in violation of the Malta Constitution, as it denies access to medical services purely on the basis of sexual orientation;
  2. the law violates human dignity by introducing unreasonable and unwarranted intrusions into physical integrity, throughout the criminalization of egg or sperm donation;
  3. the absolute ban of surrogacy effectively blocks a potentially legitimate pathway to parenthood for several couples.

You can read the full submission here (.pdf).

‘Malta’s IVF law reinforces inequalities’ – Joint press statement with Malta Gay Rights Movement

The ‘Embryo Protection Act’ is an unashamedly homophobic law insofar as it denies access to medical services purely on the basis of sexual orientation.  It is also a violation of human dignity by introducing unreasonable and unwarranted intrusions into physical integrity, in its criminalization of egg or sperm donation.

aditus foundation and Malta Gay Rights Movement take the opportunity of yesterday’s opening of the tendering process for IVF services to reiterate MGRM’s earlier criticism of the IVF law (available here).

Under the IVF law, medically assisted procreation is only open to “prospective parents”, defined in a discriminatory manner as “two persons of the opposite sex who are united in marriage, or…who are in a stable relationship with each other.”  In practice, this means that same-sex couples will be automatically denied access to medical services on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Furthermore, the Act imposes severe criminal sanctions against any person who donates his sperm or her eggs outside of the IVF law framework.  aditus foundation and MGRM question the relationship between embryo protection and the fundamental rights of all persons to be protected from violations of their physical and mental integrity, and to decide on core matters such as their private and family lives.

“We question the compliance of Malta’s IVF law with human rights law, since it seems to ignore legislation and jurisprudence unequivocally stating that all rights and obligations accessible by different-sex couples should be equally accessible and enjoyable by same-sex couples.” Gabi Calleja, MGRM Coordinator.

“We fail to understand why the government is concerned with what men do with their own sperm, and what women do with their own eggs.  As long as no third parties are negatively affected, these are decisions for individuals to take, and not for the state to criminalise.”  Dr. Neil Falzon, aditus foundation Director.

aditus foundation and MGRM strongly urge the competent authorities to truly respect, protect and fulfil the rights of all persons irrespective of their sexual orientation and to embrace a more realistic, understanding and indiscriminate notion of ‘family’.  In particular, the two organisations urge a thorough revision of the Embryo Protection Act to remove all discriminatory provisions and to bring it in line with human rights standards.

Download the statement here.