The Legality of Egg and Sperm Donation in Cyprus
As parties in Cyprus politicize Egg Donation, the ones coming out at a loss are the patients that cannot have children with their own eggs and need to use an egg donor. Like any other industry, one can always find illegal activity, however, due to the malpractice of a few certain individuals, the reputation of the whole industry should not be tarnished. We can assure both our patients and donors that everything that takes place at Pedieos IVF Center is fully legal and compliant to EU Regulation and Medically Assisted Reproduction (MAR) Law.
Pedieos IVF Center is licensed by both the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Cyprus and by the European Tissue and Cells Directives (EUTCD). Following all the legal guidelines of these two accredited and prestigious boards, Pedieos IVF is within its legal boundaries to procure, test, process, store, distribute, import and export human gametes and embryos. Our center and patients should not suffer due to a few individuals involved in illegal activities in Cyprus.
The Medically Assisted Reproduction (MAR) Law in Cyprus, which our clinic complies with, clearly states that women of ages 18 to 35 can become egg donors and men of ages 18 to 45 can become sperm donors. Therefore it is fully legal to acquire young women and men that are willing to donate their gametes to help couples have a child.
Men and women above the age of 18 are legal adults and should have the right to make their own decisions just like they are allowed to vote, work etc. It is sad to see how these young women are referred to as “girls”, implying that they are being manipulated and not able to make their own decisions. More striking is the fact that no one seems to be troubled that male sperm donors of the same age are fully allowed to make this decision. It seems that some people believe that women are not as capable as men when it comes to deciding if they want to donate their gametes. Should we allow this sexual discrimination take place in reproductive rights?
The compensation given to donors is not a payment for buying their eggs in any way. This compensation is the legal practice as per EU legislation and is given to egg and sperm donors, to cover their reasonable expenses and loss of income. Compensation is, of course, higher for women per donation, as their treatment involves taking injectable medications and visiting the clinic several times for ultrasound appointments and blood tests; thus their loss of income is much higher than that of their male counterparts.
There is a clear difference between advertising and informing, hence the way donors are recruited is very important in making sure we comply with the law. It is fully legal to inform the public that infertile couples need sperm or egg donation to have a child, and that the process is anonymous and safe.
Exporting donor oocytes and donor sperm to other countries is a legal activity as per MAR Law, provided that all the proper checks take place and ensuring that the receiving clinics are also licensed and accredited by the EUTCD.
We should consider the consequences and who will benefit from a ban on recruiting egg and sperm donors in the Republic of Cyprus. Foreign countries with egg and sperm banks will benefit, as we will be forced to purchase donor gametes for our patients in need from abroad. This will lead to increased costs for the patients and a socioeconomic discrimination since only a few patients will be able to afford such treatments. Something similar has happened with surrogacy treatment in Cyprus a few years ago where it became illegal for centers to find surrogates for patients, forcing patients to seek for surrogates on their own abroad.
Clinics in the occupied part of Cyprus will also benefit from patient influx, since patients that cannot afford to fly abroad will cross the border for egg donation treatment. In the occupied part of Cyprus there are no laws or regulations when it comes to fertility treatment since they do not fall under EU regulations, exposing patients to certain medical dangers. By allowing legal recruitment of donors in the Republic of Cyprus, and hence ovum donation treatment at the IVF centers, we ensure that patients have treatment under the safety of the EU regulations with fully licensed clinics.
Instead of misinforming people for political gain, we should be promoting the high standards that certified clinics all around Cyprus have fought so hard to maintain in order to attract foreign business and medical tourism to our shores.