Monday, March 3, 2008

Egg Donation and Lack of Governmental Regulation

"In a move likely to spark controversy, an association of fertility clinics announced it will use eggs donated by a patient's friend or sister for in vitro fertilization (IVF).

"The Japanese Institution for Standardizing Assisted Reproductive Technology (JISART), made up of 21 fertility clinics, will allow the eggs to be used for IVF with sperm donated by the husband of the patient.

"The move is in opposition to a 2003 report by an advisory panel to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare which stated that eggs should only be accepted from women not connected to the patient.

"According to the report, this is to avoid creating psychological problems for the child as a result of complicated relationships between the child and his or her biological parents.

"In the same year, the ethics panel of the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology issued a recommendation that ova should only be donated on condition of anonymity.

"JISART officials said the new procedure would involve two couples at two medical institutions in western Japan, although no date for the procedure was revealed.

"The association's ethics panel has already approved the procedure.

"Without the donated ova, the woman in each case would not be able to become pregnant, according to officials from the association.

"Last June, JISART announced that it was prepared to go ahead with the procedure but it decided to delay a final decision until after the publication of a report on assisted reproductive medicine from the Science Council of Japan.

"However, the report focused more on surrogate births and did not touch upon the issue of donated eggs.

""We cannot keep the patients and the donors waiting any longer," said Katsuhiko Takahashi, who heads JISART, in explaining why the organization decided to go ahead. "We will ask the health ministry to create legislation that would allow sisters to donate eggs."

"In addition to the possibility of complicated familial relationships, donating eggs also carries the risk of placing a physical burden on the donor."

By Asahi Shimbun (3/3/2008), Link to article (last visited 3/3/2008)

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