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Lithuanian Health Minister-designate Aurelijus Veryga on Tuesday described as a compromise the Peasant and Green Union's new proposal to allow an unlimited number of embryos to be created in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, but to put in place the requirement to store them indefinitely.
Aurelijus Veryga
Aurelijus Veryga
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

"These tensions (over assisted reproduction) were creating a wedge in the society, and we must look for options to preserve life and, at the same time, allow families to use all possible means to have children," he told reporters.

Veryga, who was among the initiators of the controversial ban on embryo freezing, said that he supports a proposal by Ramūnas Karbauskis, chairman of the Lithuanian Peasant and Green Union (LPGU), to not limit the number of embryos that can be created in IVF procedures and allow freezing them, but to store unused embryos forever.

When asked who will have to pay for the indefinite freezing of embryos, the minister-designate said that "freezing in itself isn't either technically difficult or expensive, but it seems to me that they should be stored at the expense of those who provide these services".

The Peasants and Greens earlier proposed to ban freezing embryos, saying that human life must be protected from the moment of conception, and to allow freezing only eggs. Critics say that these proposals make the assisted reproduction procedure more difficult and lead to additional risks.

However, the draft amendments will be submitted to the Seimas later on Tuesday. The opposition Liberal Movement suggested that the item should be taken off the agenda to give the Seimas some time to discuss the new proposals, but the parliament did not agree to do so.

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