Prospective parents who undergo in-vitro fertilisation will now be entitled to up 60 hours of paid leave per IVF cycle, following legal amendments introduced on Friday.

The amendments mean single working people will also be eligible for leave if they undergo IVF procedures. 

According to the amendments, people who undergo the invasive pregnancy procedure will now be entitled to 60 hours of paid leave per IVF cycle, for a maximum of three cycles. Previously, the law allowed oocyte donors to claim up to 40 hours of leave while recipients could claim 60 hours. 

The legal changes form part of the Employment and Industrial Relations Act and were unveiled by minister Carmelo Abela. 

Abela said that the amendments were intended to match Malta’s IVF law to the wide range of individuals or couples who underwent the procedure and would also take into account the possibility that an IVF applicant may have a gender identity that differs from their physical characteristics. 

The amendments were made after consultation with the Employment Relations Board as well as officials of the Embryo Protection Authority, and of the Human Rights and Integration Directorate.

“We believe that we should be supportive of all families, in their diversity, and also of individuals who are willing to give their children the opportunity to grow up in the love and affection they deserve,” Abela said. 

“Whoever wants to have a family with children, we as a Government have always been willing to help - and we will always continue to be there to help, not to hinder.”

IVF was introduced as a free medical service in 2013 and in 2018 the law was amended to make the service available to same-sex couples and single women. 

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