Man and woman signing documentsLegal IVF aspects introduction

Like it was already said in the previous article the laws and legislation concerning IVF differ from country to country. To be able to seek out the best destination country a person has to have a grasp of the legal aspects around the world. IVF might be allowed in most corners of the Earth but using much of other procedures connected to it could be illegal in various countries. Sometimes it is not the matter of procedures but people undertaking them. For example a woman could be considered too old or a single person or homosexual couple could not be allowed to use IVF. In some countries a couple has to be married to be able to use IVF and so on. Here we will present a list of countries and the general regulations concerning the IVF treatment.
Also if you wonder about legal matters concerning egg donation abroad you can read about it by clicking here.

UNITED STATES

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. This means IVF and all procedures involved and other additional procedures like PGD, Surrogacy, egg and sperm donations are regulated by the policies of the clinics themselves. For a normal patient it means that he will be able to undergo most of the procedures available. There is however an exception – American government did not approve the “three parents” method and it is not allowed in the US.

CANADA

Key laws and policies are gathered by the Assisted Human Reproduction act from 2004.
The fundamental law in Canada states that in the application of assisted human reproduction the health and well-being of the child born has the highest priority. Furthermore it states that:
– All are affected by the assisted human reproductive technologies but women are affected more directly and significantly than men. This is why their health and well-being must be protected while using these technologies.
– The fundamental condition is that there must be awareness, free and informed consent when applying the use of human reproductive technologies.
– People who want to use the assisted reproduction procedures cannot be discriminated against also on the basis of their marital and sexual orientation status.
– Sperm and egg donations must by altruistic
– The human genome integrity must be preserved and protected.

Other regulations:
– IVF embryos can be created only for reproductive or reproduction research purposes
– IVF embryos can be kept alive only for 14 days
– Women under 21 cannot be surrogates, also surrogates cannot be paid
– No commercial donations of sperm or eggs is allowed
– PGD only to prevent genetic diseases
– Donor has to give his consent for embryo creation

BRAZIL

Fertility treatments with IVF are very well regulated in Brazil and are available in around 150 clinics. Brazil is fairly liberal when it comes to providing the assisted reproduction techniques even for single women and homosexual couples. More than 20 medical centres in Brazil are accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI). Often their infertility clinics are registered at the Red Latinoamericana de Reproduccion Assistida, By Anvisa (a Brazilian Government Agency), the Brazilian Federal Medicine Council (CFM) and/or the National Surveillance Agency so it would be a good idea to check if the clinic you have chosen is registered at one of this places. Regulations are on a statue level.
Very often at the licenced clinics if an IVF treatment is abandoned for various reasons the patient is able to get a 50% refund.

MEXICO

Laws and legislations in Mexico concerning assisted reproduction are gathered under the General Health Law and Regulation of the General Health Law on Scientific Health Research.
In the states of Colima, Queretaro and Tabasco there is permissive legislation. In Michoacan, Morelos, Puebla, Sonora and Zacatecas the legislations are open to interpretation. Prohibitions in the assisted reproduction techniques can be found in the states of Coahuila and San Luis Potosi. In the rest of the states there is no legislation.
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.
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.
Egg donation and embryo donation is widely available in Mexico.

ARGENTINA

Argentina is a very liberal country when taking into account the legislations concerning IVF and other assisted reproduction techniques. IVF can available for heterosexual couples, single and homosexual couples as well.
Fundamental laws governing assisted reproduction laws are based upon the Argentinian Constitution which states that nobody is discriminated against and everybody has the right to raise a family.
Procedures like surrogacy, PGD and egg donation are covered by ethical guidelines.

SOUTH AFRICA

Key laws and policies in South Africa are covered by the Children’s Act No. 38 of 2005, Human Tissue Act and the National Health Law. Changes were made to the assisted reproduction laws in South Africa. Now IVF and other treatments are available also for unmarried partners, single persons or same-sex couples.
Sex selection isn’t prohibited but official guidelines state that it is unethical to do so not for medical reasons.
Altruistic surrogacy is allowed with reimbursement of expenses.
Sperm donation and egg donation is permitted non-commercially but reimbursement of expenses is allowed.

SPAIN

Key law and policies in Spain are gathered by the Law on Assisted Human Reproduction Techniques, No. 14/2006, Biomedicine Law (2007) and Law on Human Tissue (1983).
IVF in Spain is permitted, regulated and widely practiced. A lot of Europeans travel to Spain to do IVF.
Law in Spain provides the same rights and obligations for married and single women who want to build a family. Lesbian couples are also able to use IVF to create a family. Men in homosexual relationships however cannot use IVF for becoming parents because a surrogate is needed and surrogacy in Spain is prohibited.
Practices prohibited in Spain:
– Sex selection (except for avoiding inheritable diseases)
– Inheritable genetic modification
– Fertilizing an egg for any purpose other than reproduction

CZECH REPUBLIC

All assisted reproduction in the Czech Republic are covered by statute regulations and guidelines through a central licensing body. The Czech Society for Assisted Reproduction recommends only two embryos to be transferred in the IVF treatment.
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.

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.

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.

UKRAINE

All infertility treatment laws in Ukraine are regulated by the Family and Civil Codes and also by the Law on Health Fundamentals of Ukraine. Those regulations apply both to citizens and non-residents. There is only about 20 clinics in Ukraine but it is a popular location because surrogacy, including IVF surrogacy is allowed. Also women which are too old to undergo IVF treatment in other countries are able to get the treatment in Ukraine using donor eggs.
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.

RUSSIA

Russia has almost one hundred infertility clinics which offer treatments to citizens and non-residential persons. All artificial insemination and assisted reproduction technologies are covered and regulated by the central government of Russia. IVF surrogacy, Assisted hatching, ISCI and micromanipulation is allowed and PGD is allowed if the clinic is licensed and it must be supervised.
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.

CYPRUSS

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.

GREECE

All methods of assisted reproduction techniques in Greece are regulated by the National law that includes in vitro fertilisation (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), with the husband’s sperm or donor sperm, surgical sperm retrieval (PESA, TESA, MESA), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), egg donation, blastocyst transfer, frozen embryo transfer
and assisted hatching (AH).
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.

TURKEY

Turkish clinics are specialists in treating women that are 35 or older. When choosing a clinic in Turkey you should look for those with the ISO 9001 certificate. Turkish law prohibits IVF treatments for single women, homosexual couples and homosexual marriages. IVF with donated sperm or eggs is also not permitted. Intrauterine insemination with donated sperm is also prohibited.
Turkey has a national licensing body which covers all assisted reproduction techniques and embryo manipulation.

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.

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

There are over 500 fertility treatment centres in India. When looking for clinics in India pay attention if the clinics are registered by the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR) with the accreditation of JCI and certified with ISO. Sex selection in India is allowed only to avoid inheritable genetic disorders.
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.

MALAYSIA

Government of Malaysia started to promote and regulate its healthcare overseas with the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) and in this way it increased the popularity of its infertility treatments tourism. Private Hospitals of Malaysia in teamwork with the MHTC are offering fertility treatment of high quality and attractive costs. There is a policy in Malaysia that states that the prices for treatment are the same both for citizens and international patients so you can be assured by law that you will not be overpriced.
The Malaysian Society for Quality in Health and the International Society for Quality in Healthcare sets strict standards for the fertility clinics of the MHTC. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is also a standard setting body in Malaysia.

THAILAND

Key laws and policies are concerning assisted reproduction techniques are gathered under the Protection of Children Born of Assisted Reproductive Technologies Act 2014.
Sex selection is prohibited and allowed only in case of screening for genetic diseases. Surrogacy is allowed only for altruistic reasons – it cannot be advertised or promoted – furthermore the surrogate has to have a child already and must be Thai over 25 years old. Also buying and selling eggs, sperm or embryos is prohibited.
IVF is allowed only for married couples with consent of both sides.
PGD is allowed only for genetic disease detection.

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