Legal aspects of IVF egg donation in popular locations

CZECH REPUBLIC

Infertility treatment regulations in Czech Republic are a bit more liberal than in the rest of the Europe countries. But of course there are some restrictions. If you think of taking up treatment in Czech Republic here are the legal regulations you need to know about:

  • The current legislations state that the woman giving birth to the child is the legal mother. This means that by using egg donation the recipient carrying the child and delivering it is the child’s mother in the eyes of the law.
  • Donation of eggs or sperm is a voluntary act in which both the recipient and donor are anonymous. The donor can only be a female between the age of 18 and 35 years and cannot be legally restricted.
  • The donor is not financially compensated. Only the expenses associated with the donation procedures are covered.
  • The clinics are obliged to keep the donors medical records for 30 years. Inspections are made to make sure the clinics oblige to these standards. Some groups of people are very concerned about the lack of long term medical control over the donor’s. This 30 year safeguard could prove that the donor’s do not suffer of medical trauma years after the procedures or if it shows poor impact on their health it will help to eliminate such trauma in the future.
  • Sex selection is allowed only under the circumstances of preventing serious genetic diseases. This means that if the doctor sees there’s a chance the child inherits some genetic disease which is strictly connected with a certain sex, he may recommend you to choose the opposite sex to avoid the disease. This include diseases that:
    a) are in conflict with the child’s postnatal development
    b) may shorten the life of the child
    c) could cause disability or other serious health problems
    d) cannot be cured
  • It is not legal to offer the treatments to single women and couples of the same sex.
    The “infertile couple” is recognized as a woman and a man living together intimately.
  • 49 years is the maximum acceptable age of the recipient.

SPAIN

The law in Spain concerning the human assisted reproduction techniques is considering the absolute anonymity of the donor. It states that the donor’s identity is never to be revealed. Furthermore the donation is a voluntary and altruistic act and paternity claims are not allowed.

The child born as a result of treatment with egg donation (embryo donation, semen and so on) is going to be legally registered as the child of the couple which was undergoing the infertility treatment.

Legislations in Spain currently permits some infertility treatment and reproduction techniques which are not allowed in many other European countries. Treatments such as PGD, embryo selection, gender selection, embryo donation, sperm donation, egg donation – with the one exception that the gender selection procedure like in most places is permitted only to prevent from hereditary genetic diseases. It is also important to know that the procedures are available for single women.

Legal matters concerning the recipients:

  • Any woman at the age of 18 or older, as a legal person is permitted to use Assisted Reproduction Techniques of course with a written consent.
  • Infertility treatments and reproduction techniques are available for women no matter what is her sexual orientation or marital status.
  • In case the recipient is a married woman than the consent of the husband is also required. This is not the case if they are in an official separation.

Legal matters concerning the donors:

  • The donor is chosen by the medical staff. It is stated by the article of the Spanish legislation that the medical team is responsible for making the choice of the donor. It is absolutely forbidden for the choice to be made by the patients awaiting the treatment.
  • Donors anonymity must be ensured
  • Maximum compatibility and phenotypical and immunological similarities with the woman that is the recipient must also be ensured.

Frozen eggs

Prior authorization of the Spanish health authorities is needed for the use of frozen eggs. The embryos that were left over from the infertility treatments that had not been used during the cycle may be frozen in banks with authorization. The cryo-preservation (freezing) may be prolonged until the doctors decide that necessary clinical requirements are no longer fulfilled.
Every two years the couple or the single woman is required to renew or modify the consent concerning the usage of the frozen embryos.
The frozen eggs can be used:

  • by the couple or a single woman
  • as a donation for research purposes
  • as donations for other reproductions

UKRAINE

The usage of reproductive technologies in infertility treatment procedures (like egg donation) is approved and regulated by the law in Ukraine.
Egg donation in Ukraine is consolidated by number of legislative acts and it is fully allowed.

Here is what some of the articles and legislations state:

  • If the child is born as a result of using the assisted reproductive technologies using eggs from an egg donor the legal parents are of course the recipient couple.
  • A man is the father of the child born as a result of assisted reproductive technologies if his wife gives birth and he has signed the proper consent.
  • Gender selection is allowed by the law – PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnostics) are allowed to be conducted to select the healthy embryos and your future baby’s gender.
  • Ministry of Health of Ukraine determines the conditions and regulations under which the In-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer procedures are performed. With the conclusion that the woman has to be at full legal age, there has to be a written consent and that there is full donor anonymity and absolute medical secrecy.
  • Which persons are eligible to participation in assisted reproductive technologies based programs is determined by the Civil Code of Ukraine.
  • Article 281 states that:
    Either a woman or a man of a full legal age has the right to use assisted reproductive technologies based on medical advice and according to the conditions and in the order determined by the legislation.
  • Patients are free to choose whatever medical clinic working legally to carry out treatments they want to undergo with usage of the assisted reproductive technologies.
  • Programs that use assisted reproductive technologies can only be done in accredited healthcare establishments.
  • Medical attestation, a written consent and an application approved by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine is needed to use assisted reproductive technologies.
  • No parental rights are given to the donors.

POLAND

At the moment there are no complex regulations concerning donating and receiving eggs, embryos or gametes in Poland. They are not subjected to the regulations of the legislation about the collection, storage and transplanting cells, tissues and organs. The legislation project about infertility treatments intended to adjust the Polish laws with the laws of the European Union is still in progress. Therefore Poland’s legislations on the assisted reproduction technologies is currently in the “grey area” like so many different countries.

The legislations that will come in Poland in the future will regulate the standards of the quality and security of donating, recipiency, testing and processing, preserving and storing and also distributing of the tissue and human cells.

The project legislation will determine:

  • The functioning conditions and tasks of the Centres of Infertility Treatments
  • Activity in the field of securing and promoting the fertility health
  • Rules of the functionality of the centres of assisted reproduction and reproductive cells banks.
  • Rules of supervising the assisted reproduction

So in the meantime almost all procedures like egg donations, IVF and so on are available in the Polish clinics .

RUSSIA

Egg donation legislations in Russia are one of the most liberal in the European countries.
Here is what you can get to know from their legal regulations:

  • Anonymous egg donation is allowed but with the one indication that the donor is aged between 18 and 35 and already had at least one healthy child. A known donor is also allowed
  • Donor’s anonymous status is assured
  • Clinics are allowed to compensate the donor financially
  • Every woman that is of childbearing age has the right to artificial fertilization and implantation of an embryo.
  • Everything subjected to patients personal data is confidential and is secured with the regular medical secrecy meaning that no recipient’s identity information is given to the anonymous donor or the donor’s to the recipient.
  • Data about the donor available to the recipient may contain information about: nationality, appearance, important medical details.
  • The married couple that gives the consent for the infertility treatment (also egg donation) are the legal parents of the child born by the usage of the assisted reproduction technologies.
  • Maximum recipient age is higher in Russia, up to 50 years of age.
  • Egg donation is available not only for married couples but also for man and women who are not married and also single women – as the new law states: “the birth of a child to a single parent creates a new family, the vertical family, which is the real basis and structure of any stable society”
  • The artificial fertilization is allowed only in the licensed clinics
  • Gender selection is allowed but as always with the exception that there is a risk oh hereditary genetic diseases which could be eliminated with the selection of the sex.
  • Russian citizens have the right to cryopreservation (freezing of the eggs or embryos)
  • No eggs, embryos and so on cannot be used for industrial purposes.

AMERICA – USA

There is no government body in the United States which directly regulates the assisted reproduction technologies. The fertility industry in US has a lot more freedom than other branches of medicine and health. This is because most of the research on infertility is not funded by the federal government of the USA. When it comes to regulations of medical specialities the infertility treatment and technologies is in the group of least submitted to those regulations. Ethical questions and standards can be freely defined by the physicians and researchers themselves.

The infertility clinics in the United Stated unlike those in most of Europe are not required to be licensed by law. There are no proper regulations and standards for egg donor care and recruitment methods. The legislations of the reproductive technologies in USA are in a so called state of “laissez-faire” which means policy of non-intervention. This happens because a lot of researchers and physicians are opposing the regulations that are rising. There is however no doubt that some kind of oversight is needed if the goal is to provide reproductive care on the highest level of quality available and to minimize the risks. This should not however worry you about the quality of treatment in USA which is at high standards it only means that such matters should be controlled by a qualified regulatory body. Physicians and researchers of the USA believe that the oversight ought to be done by an institution coming from the medical community. To sum up, If you want to travel to the United States for IVF with Egg donation there are really none legal restrictions you should worry about. USA is regulations-free when it comes to procedures in this area and when it comes to IVF, PGD, egg donations and so on you have a green light.

MEXICO

Using donated eggs and embryos in treating infertility is legal in Mexico. Egg donation and embryo donation is widely available and accessible. It is legal to freeze the fertilized eggs and store them for future use – oocyte cryopreservation. Egg donation, PGD or PND are not explicitly regulated by law in Mexico. The General Health Law and the Regulation on Scientific Research states that the assisted reproduction is permitted when solving infertility problems that otherwise could not be fixed by other means.

There must be respect for social, cultural and moral beliefs of the couple even when they are different from the beliefs of the investigating body.

Benefit of the embryo
The regulation of The General Health Law and the Regulation on Scientific Research also mandates that the research on embryos can only be conducted in the matter that it benefits the embryo and the pregnant mother. It also has to be ensured that their safety is guaranteed and no severe risks are involved.

GREECE

Greek law focuses on ensuring that the usage of assisted reproductive technologies are in the best interest of the conceived child. Greece is a good place for egg donation procedures when it comes to legislations.

The Greek law states that:

  • Maximum 50 years of age is for women undergoing IVF treatments and other infertility treatments. There’s no limit when it comes to men’s age.
  • Treatment is not “rigorously” prohibited for couples of the same gender. A woman can sign a notarial deed which will state that she is deciding to have the procedure as a single woman with the use of donated sperm.
  • Couples that are not married are required to sign a notarial deed which states that the woman is single. If there is a partner he must sign an agreement that he is willing to be the legal father of the conceived child. The notarial costs are between 40 and 70 euros and the deed is signed when the couple arrives in Greece.
  • As in many other countries gender selection is allowed only if there are medical reasons and it will be in the interest of the child.
  • Egg and sperm donation is anonymous.
  • Egg donation is acceptable only as an altruistic act – compensation for the donor’s is given only for their time off work.
  • Both the recipients and donors are required to sign the consent forms ( a standard procedure) which will secure their rights.
  • The donor can be maximally 35 years old.
  • All standard screening and medical tests must be done in compliance with the HFEA guidelines.

Laws concerning embryo transfer:

  • If a woman under the age of 35 uses her own eggs then one or two of the embryos can be transferred
  • Woman that is over 35 years old but under 40 is allowed to transfer up to two embryos if she uses her own eggs and if it is her first or second treatment cycle.
  • A 40 year old women that uses her own eggs can transfer up to three embryos, and up to 4 embryos if she’s over 40.
  • When using donor eggs all women are allowed to transfer only up to two embryos.

AUSTRALIA

Similar to the States in USA, Australia has a bit different regulations in different parts of the country and again like in the USA they are more of a guidelines then proper legislations. Those guidelines are coming from various institutions like the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC).

The Code of Practice was created by the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC) of the Fertility Society of Australia.

Anyway what can be generally deducted from the Australian laws is that:

  • Buying or selling any human tissue which includes sperm, eggs and embryos is against the law.
  • Donating embryos or eggs is legal in all Australian states and territories
  • Accreditation is given only to the clinics that comply with the both Guidelines and the Code of Practice (so be sure to choose accredited clinics!)
  • It has to be assured that the donor can be legally traced in case of children who want to find their genetic parents and siblings. The number of offspring born from one donor must be limited.
  • The recipients should not donate their embryos to another couples. Embryos created from donated eggs also cannot be then donated to someone else but it can be allowed in appropriate circumstances
  • Donors wishes about to whom the embryos should be donated to must be respected.
  • Embryos can be donated to known recipients also which they found themselves or donate them to a clinic to be later donated to an eligible couple.
  • In states with no legislations couples are allowed to donate their eggs and embryos only to recipients that meet their expectations when it comes to religion, background and marital status.
  • NHMRC guidelines state that frozen eggs and embryos can be in storage for five years with the possibility to extend this period for another five years.
  • Donor is in no way responsible for the child born from the donation
  • People born from the donation cannot have any claims on the estates of the donor
  • The birth mother is the legal mother of the child born from egg donation
  • Once the child is 18 years old it is allowed to access some information about the donor from the Registry
  • Infertility treatments are not allowed for women over 50 years of age and to women which health could be jeopardized by the pregnancy.

If you would like to know more of the details about legislations in different places in Australia:

New South Wales is subjected to the Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2007 and the Regulation from 2009 and you can read it here.

Victoria is subjected to legislations from Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 and the Regulations from 2009 which you can read here.

Western Australia is subjected to the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 as well as to the Human Reproductive Technology Act Directions 2004. For more information go here.

South Australia is subjected to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 that works in combination with the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Regulations 2010.

INDIA

Artificial Insemination in India is not legislated. Doctors and other medical staff must however follow the general principals of Indian law.

  • A child which was born in the result of using artificial insemination procedures is considered legitimate in the eyes of the law if it was born in a lawful marriage.
  • Donors are anonymous
  • It may be that more than one signed contract will be needed between the recipient and the donor and between the donor and the clinic that conducts the whole procedure.
  • The contract states about the responsibilities of both recipients and donors.
  • The contract is not the same as the consent. Both are needed and have legal connotations which could be very important in case of some unfortunate incidents.
  • The donor should be advised by a legal expert.
  • The donor will be in no matter responsible for the born child and there will be appropriate documents to be signed to ensure this.
  • Anonymous donor may be required to be identified in certain cases
  • The court may permit to give the child information about the donor.
  • Donors are compensated for the services not for the eggs no matter if they result in pregnancy.
  • Short term insurances can be offered by the clinics for donors without insurance.

LATVIA

Latvian legislations state that the egg donation is available for couples that are heterosexual. Such a couple has the right to choose a donor with define age and health criteria. Donors must be aged from 18 to 34. They have to be healthy physically and mentally. Standard medical tests and examinations are required. There’s also genetic testing and psychiatric examination. Latvian legislations states that each donor has to be absolutely anonymous. You neither can see the donor’s photo nor can you meet him in person. As a recipient you are able to make a choice about the donor based on approximately 20 criteria. These criteria are age, blood group with the Rh factor, hair colour, eye colour, height, weight. You will also have a slight insight on the social life of your donor.

CYPRUS

Laws and legislations concerning egg donations and other assisted reproduction related matters are different in the North and South Cyprus.
North Cyprus states that:

  • The treatment is available not only for heterosexual couples but also of the same sex and single women.
  • Gender selection is allowed not only for medical reasons but also for family balancing
  • Maximum acceptable donor age is 35 years
  • Surrogacy is not allowed
  • The maximum legal age of patients undergoing IVF treatments is 45 years
  • Egg freezing is allowed
  • Embryos and gametes storage time is not limited
  • Egg donation is anonymous
  • One donor can donate eggs legally up to 5 times (the problem is there is no central registration so it is really hard to tell if somebody has done it more than 5 times)
  • The law requires that the donors are medically tested and examined for various diseases.

UNITED KINGDOM

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is in order of all regulations concerning Assisted Reproduction Technologies in UK. For the clinic to be legally recognized it must be licensed by the HFEA. Here are some legal regulations you will need to know when getting treatment in the UK:

  • Embryo freezing is allowed
  • Egg and sperm donation is allowed
  • Embryo screening is allowed for detection of hereditary diseases.
  • Recently the usage of hybrid embryos for medical research purposes was approved by the UK government
  • Women under 40 can be implanted with maximally two embryos and up to maximally three if she is over 40. Soon there could be only single embryo implantation system in the UK.
  • Donors are not anonymous. The details on the donor will be registered in the HFEA Register of Information. At age 16 the child has available access to non-identifying information and when it turns 18 he can know about the identifying information such as the donor’s name, date of birth and the last known address. The child has also the right to know about his genetic half-siblings if the donor also donated to other couples.
  • One donor is limited to 10 children
  • Treatments are available for married women, lesbians and single women
  • Recipient giving birth to a child is the legal mother also when using egg donation.
  • The donor has no legal and financial responsibilities toward the child. No contract concerning this matter is needed this applies automatically.
  • If the donor is know you can create some legal contract on how the relationship between her and the child will look like bot he will not be the legal parent and it is best you seek legal advice.
  • You decide if you tell the child about his origins or not.
  • The donor has the right inquire the HFEA if her eggs resulted in pregnancy and whether it was a girl or a boy. He cannot however know about her or his identity.
  • The donor has the right to get compensation of up to 750 pounds per cycle donation.

BRAZIL

Fertility clinics regulations are at the statue level. Red Latinoamericana de Preproduccion Assistida governs most of the clinics.

IVF treatments are available for same sex couples and single women
ISCI: Allowed

Pre implementation generic diagonisis: Allowed (gender selection not allowed)

Assisted hatching: Allowed

IVF surrogacy: Allowed (surrogate must be related to prospective parents and payment is prohibited)

ARGENTINA

There is currently no legislation concerning egg donation and other infertility treatments in Argentina.

  • It is believed that donors should be anonymous like in other South American countries.
  • Recipients can maximally be 50 years old
  • The donors should be between the age of 20 and 30 years old