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Egg donation law -the Israeli case

By Ofra Balaban-Kasztelanski
Posted: 8th June 2016 08:00
In Israel, there is a strong and valid legislation with regulations regarding egg donation. The story started in 1987 when the Ministry of Health enacted a law to allow egg donation in Israel with the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). The latest chapter closed in 2011 when the new law passed the 3 votes in the Knessett.
The law of 1987 and regulations regarding donation were very clear: If a woman needed to have an egg donation she may get an egg donation from Israeli woman that is already an IVF patient. It was not allowed to have egg donation from healthy women that are not patients. The logic surrounding this decision and the level of risks those days were too high so only a patient could donate to another patient. As scientific and technological advances were made the law became dated. In 1998, Israel started the long procedure of changing the law so that a healthy woman can donate eggs.  It took us 13 years and lot of deliberation in the Israeli parliament – the Knessett – until the legislation was finally completed. The following extract is a short version of the law that contains 55 clauses guarding the donor, the recipient and the newborn:
The new legislation allowed a healthy woman under the age of 35, to donate her eggs to a patient with the conditions of anonymity. Israel is a small country and it is important to keep anonymity and sealed details. All details of donor and recipient are sealed. The only body that can give any information is Family court – young couple can apply to the court only with identity numbers and the court will check if there is any genetic relations between them as first degree family or not. All other details are sealed and cannot be revealed at all.
Women can have an egg donation until one day before their 54th birthday, in 7 out of 28 public clinics in Israel from an Israeli donor. The state covered the cost of egg donation but not the price of the sperm. The patient has to pay 10,000 SHEKELS as part of the payment to the donor that is being done via the clinic. The Ministry of Health matches the same amount. All of the procedure must take place in the clinic. 
Cross-border egg donation is allowed and the state participates in the costs – about 30% is covered. In this case there is no regulation regarding the sperm or the egg origin. 
Our next legislation is embryos donation in Israel. With the cooperation of the Ministry of Health we gathered the government and the Knessett to work together for the preparation of the law. This is one of the strong abilities of NGO in Israel – changing the law for the benefit of our patients.

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