In March 2010 Turkey introduced ‘Legislation Concerning Assisted Reproduction Treatment Practices and Centres’ that sets out the latest version of assisted reproduction regulations in this country.
It asserts a number of issues significantly affecting the practice of assisted reproduction. There are limitations regarding the licensing of private IVF centers. This document also introduces specifications on gamete and embryo storage and restrictions on the number of embryos that can be transferred to a patient (only one for women aged under 35 in their first and second cycle of IVF, and a maximum of two embryos for women in their third or subsequent cycles or over 35 years of age).
Turkey’s first child conceived with the use of ART techniques was born in 1989, 11 years after the birth of fist tube baby, Louise Brown. Although in early 90’ties there were very few fertility clinics in Turkey, now the assisted reproduction sector is successful and well developed. The availability and efficacy of IVF treatment is growing and there is better understanding and growing acceptance of infertility treatments throughout the nation.
In terms of reproductive medicine Turkish law states amongst others that:
- artificial insemination with husband’s semen is allowed and the child is considered the legal offspring of the couple.
- in vitro fertilization of an egg from wife with the sperm of her husband is allowed. The procedure can be provided only if indicated for medical reasons.
- embryos can be frozen through cryopreservation and they are the property of the couple and may be transferred to the wife, but only during the marriage contract.
- pregnancy in post-menopausal women is allowed using a woman’s own cryopreserved embryos, oocytes, or, in the future, ovaries.
- In some cases multifetal pregnancy reduction (a.k.a. selective reduction) is allowed
- preimplatation genetic diagnosis is allowed and encouraged as it allows to avoid pregnancy terminations among couples at high risk of genetic disorders. This procedure may be done for “family balancing” as well.
- embryo research (after couples agreement and only for fourteen days post-fertilization) is allowed – for the advancement of scientific knowledge and the benefit of humanity.
- Egg, sperm and embryo donation as well as gestational surrogacy is prohibited since the introduction of a regulatory framework for assisted reproductive treatment in 1987. Since 2010 additionally it is forbidden to travel for cross-border reproductive care for the purposes of third-party assisted reproduction.
Furthermore, a maximum number of three embryos can be transferred during one cycle. Embryos can be frozen up to 5 years only.