The Parliamentary committee for health unanimously approved a controversial protocol allowing in-vitro fertilisation of more than two eggs per cycle.

The change had been approved in Parliament some months ago amid backlash.

Health Minister Chris Fearne expressed satisfaction that more Maltese would attain their dream of becoming parents through this process.

Dozens of academics had protested about the IVF amendments, warning they "gravely weaken the protection of the human embryo at its most vulnerable stage".

Medical professor Pierre Schembri Wismayer, who had helped in drafting the previous IVF legislation, had heavily criticised the proposed change, slamming it as "chilling".

Embryologists would be selecting the "best two" embryos out of the permitted five for IVF treatment to have a higher probability of success, he had warned.

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) clinic at Mater Dei Hospital will now be tasked with selecting the amount of eggs to be fertilised.

The ministry had reacted to the backlash by insisting that the proposed amendments were made to give single people and lesbians more rights.

The IVF amendments were also criticised since they proposed permitting embryo freezing and the subsequent adoption of unclaimed frozen embryos.

Prof. Schembri Wismayer noted that obliging couples who are interested in IVF treatment to give their consent to embryo adoption was probably a first.

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