This government claims that it has a mandate to legislate and introduce the highly objectionable practice of anonymous gamete donation as part of regular access to IVF. On investigating this bold claim, one is at pains to justify such a mandate. Since when was the anonymous donation of gametes on the cards? Gametes are either human sperm or human ova.
Anonymous gamete donation is as sinister as it sounds. Human sperm or ova are collected anonymously and then used to create a human embryo during the IVF procedure. The individual that is conceived as a result would have no way of ever knowing who the biological parents were.
Sweden, Austria, the Australian state of Victoria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Finland had this policy in the past and reversed it, seeing it is flawed. Today, it is mandatory in these countries that donors’ identity be accessible to any offspring issuing from gamete donation. In 2011, the Supreme Court of British Columbia banned anonymous gamete donation, and Washington State recently passed legislation allowing donor-conceived children to have access to a donor’s identifying information unless the donor explicitly elects not to disclose the information.
There are many moral and ethical reasons why our MPs should be completely against this controversial proposal. Anonymous gamete donation goes against the child’s right to know their genetic ancestry. This right is protected by article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights as part of the respect for private life. On what grounds should they be made to forfeit this right?
Most are uncomfortable hearing about the number of children registered as ‘father unknown’. Why should we ever agree to a policy that from the outset, sets out to intentionally create unknown parents, or, to put it another way, to create orphans by design? Moreover, without knowing the identity of the donor and without regulating how many children are produced from the same donor, there might be incidents where half-siblings could unknowingly end up having their own possibly unhealthy offspring.
Children conceived anonymously will be denied the same possibility as others of knowing whether they carry an inherited disease such as cancer. Should they be denied the right to be able to take preventive measures like those children who are aware of their ancestry?
If payment for gametes is never to be permitted, how does a government regulate this? Who will foot the bill for the screening, storing, selection and distribution process? The majority of those who may donate as well as avail themselves of gametes may be in a fragile state themselves. How does one screen for this and ensure that the vulnerable are not taken advantage of?
“Lost”, “I don’t know who I am anymore”, “I see a stranger looking back at me in the mirror”, “Betrayed”…. This is how scores of persons conceived through anonymous gamete donations across the globe express how they feel once they discover this about themselves. Many of these individuals are now speaking out through social media, as they strive to warn others and open our eyes to the far-reaching ramifications of anonymity.
Malta has experienced the consequences of a swift and aggressive radical liberal trend. Some politicians have outdone themselves in their quest to assume the title of liberal standard bearers.
The argument in favour of anonymity revolves primarily around largely emotional reasons to justify what reason shows is unjustifiable. Too many MPs have confused emotional and rhetorical arguments for common sense, reason, logic and authentic values. One hopes that there are still some honourable representatives who have the courage to stand up against what is clearly wrong.