Ukraine is a the top visited European country by fertility tourists due, among other reasons, to its permissive law on medically assisted reproduction.
The legal framework surrounding ART in Ukraine is governed by different policies: The Law of Ukraine No. 2801-XII of 11/19/1992 “Fundamentals of Health Legislation of Ukraine”, “Instruction on Procedures for Assisted Reproductive Technologies”, adopted by the Order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the provisions of the Family and Civil Code of Ukraine, “Rules for Vital Statistic Registration in Ukraine”, adopted by the Order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, etc.
The main techniques allowed in this country are the following:
- Standard in vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
- Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) or Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT)
- Artificial insemination (AI)
- Egg donation, sperm donation, and embryo donation
- Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
- Gamete and embryo cryopreservation
What follows is a guide to the main conditions established in accordance with the Ukrainian law on medically assisted reproduction in general, and above all on issues concerning egg and sperm donation.
Assisted reproduction in Ukraine
The Ukrainian law stipulates that the application of all assisted reproductive technologies is permitted, on medical indication, to every man and/or woman of legal age. This means the patient has to provide a certificate duly signed by a physician, where the need for fertility care is proven. Thus, medically assisted conception is allowed not only to married and unmarried couples, but also unmarried and single persons.
Surrogacy is an exception to this rule, as this fertility procedure is allowed to just officially married couples.
As for embryo donation, donated embryos can be at cleavage stage (day 3) or at blastocyst stage (day 5-6).
As for the embryo transfer, according to the "Instruction on Procedures for Assisted Reproductive Technologies", it is recommended to transfer no more than 1 or 2 embryos per IVF cycle. The aim is to reduce the risk for a multiple pregnancy, which would be dangerous not only for the fetus, but also for the pregnant woman.
Still, when the particularities of each case make it possible to foresee sparse chances of embryo implantation with a single embryo transfer (SET), more embryos could be transferred, though not exceeding the number of 3. For this to be done, the patient has to provide written consent.
Eligibility for egg donation
Among the requirements every prospective egg donor must meet, we highlight the following: to have at least one child of her own, to be aged between 18 and 36, and to be physically and mentally healthy. Having good phenotypical attributes and no detrimental habits such as drug/tobacco consumption or alcohol intake are fundamental prerequisites as well.
In order for the compliance of these requirements to be proven, donors are medically pre-screened, including blood tests to determine their blood type and the absence of genetic and infectious diseases, gynecological examination, assessment of vaginal discharge, karyotype test, etc. Psychological evaluation is also required prior to being accepted.
In Ukraine, egg donors must remain anonymous and act voluntarily. Family members, however, can contribute an egg as long as the intended parents agree to do so. Keeping this in mind, women who fit the following profiles are eligible to become egg donors:
- Anonymous women who meet the established criteria
- Family members
- Anonymous women who donate their spare eggs after finishing their own IVF cycle
Anonymous women cannot be given information about the identity of the recipients, not vice versa, that is, recipients cannot choose their donor or meet her in person.
Although pictures of the donor cannot be seen, intended parents can get general information about her, such as weight, height, eye and hair color, nationality, educational level, family status, or blood type.
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I’ve a German friend who underwent egg donation in Ukraine and she ended up highly satisfied with her clinic. She says they were a highly professional team, caregivers above all. I definitely think Ukraine is the most balanced destination in Europe… one can find some restrictions, that’s true, but not that much…