Amendments banning embryo freezing in Lithuania submitted to Seimas

At a clinic
AFP/Scanpix

The draft amendments have been registered by 57 members of the Seimas, including the majority of the ruling Lithuanian Peasant and Green Unit’s political group, and some lawmakers from the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the Order and Justice party and the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania-Union of Christian Families.

Health Minister-designate Aurelijus Veryga, delegated to the post by the Peasants and Greens, is among the initiators.

A group of obstetricians and gynecologists have called on the Seimas in a public statement to allow the law in its current form to take effect, saying that the proposed conservative amendments will cause problems for infertile couples. About 30 non-governmental organizations representing patients have also backed this position in an open letter.

The initiators of the amendments argue that the new Law on Assisted Reproduction, which is due to come into force in January, “fails to ensure adequate protection of the embryo and allows for the indefinite storage of frozen embryos and for the disposal of such embryos”, as well as fails to ensure children’s rights to know their biological parents.

The Seimas last June passed a law that would have limited the number of embryos that can be created in an IVF procedure to the number intended to be implanted into a woman’s womb at a time, but no more than three.

However, President Dalia Grybauskaitė vetoed the law and the parliament in September upheld the presidential veto. The Law on Assisted Reproduction, in its current form, does not limit the number of embryos that can be created at a time and allows sperm or eggs donation and pre-implantation embryo screening.

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