Regulations Governing Egg and Sperm Donation in Russia

By BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 03/22/2016

Russia presents a rather wide legal framework regarding assisted reproduction treatment; therefore, several fertility treatments are allowed, including donor conception.

Thanks to it, couples from other parts of the world where assisted reproduction entails many restrictions as regards the use of donor eggs travel to Russia when they are in need of assisted conception using donor gametes.

Law governing donor conception

In November 2011, the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation passed the bill with the headline “Federal Law On Fundamentals of Protection of Public Health in the Russian Federation”, which establishes in which cases is assisted reproduction indicated and which techniques are allowed.

Nowadays, legal bases regulating fertility treatments in this country continue to be supported by the Federal Law on Public Health Protection.

Types of donor conception

Egg donation, as well as sperm donation, is permitted by law in two versions from the point of view of the economic compensation donors are paid. Thus, both altruistic and commercial egg donation are allowed.

Egg donors are required to be aged between 20 and 35 years, and should have given birth previously, thereby proving their fertility potential. As for sperm donors, they can donate their reproductive cells up until the age of 40. Besides, every donor must be medically screened to verify whether they actually enjoy good health.

With respect to egg and sperm donor identity, Russian law allows them to remain anonymous, in which case no identifiable data about the receiving person or couple will be revealed to the donor. On the other hand, patients have the right to get information about the overall health state of the egg or sperm donor, as well as some of his/her general physical features.

The principle that donor identity must be preserved is a fundamental one, which means there is no possible way donors and recipients can build a relationship between them. Only in case the clinic considered it necessary from a medical point of view, the egg donor agency or sperm bank would do so by acting as intermediaries.

Non-anonymous donor conception is another possibility addressed by law. In this case, patients can meet their egg or sperm donor. However, the donor must be either a relative or close friend of the patient. Of course, such known donor must undergo the same medical tests performed on every anonymous donor in order to verify no risk is involved in using his/her gametes.

IVF with donor eggs

In vitro fertilization using donor eggs involves using the eggs of a young donor in order to fertilize them in the lab—either through IVF or ICSI. The aim is to transfer a maximum of 3 embryos out of the ones that have made it to day 3 or 5 after fertilization.

Different types of egg donation can be found within Russia:

  • Altruistic donation
  • Paid or commercial donation
  • Anonymous donation
  • Non-anonymous donation (the egg or sperm donor must be a close friend or relative)
  • Double donation (both donor eggs and donor sperm)

Besides, Russia allows the cryopreservation and storage of gametes, embryos, and human reproductive tissue. Thanks to it, they can be used for future fertility cycles.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is a procedure by which a single embryo cell is analyzed once the embryo has been created through in vitro fertilization. PGD is use to check whether there exists some genetic abnormality known to be associated with a severe condition.

In this sense, if the embryo presents some genetic abnormality, a healthier embryo will be selected, thereby leaving the affected embryo non-transferred.

Egg donors are young and healthy women whom have been thoroughly pre-screened before being accepted into the egg donation program.

However, some intended parents have a preference for performing a PGD to the embryos created from donor embryos in order to make sure it is free from any genetic disorder.

Gender selection is not allowed in Russia, except in duly justified exceptional cases where there is some risk of transmitting a sex-linked disease to offspring.

Since PGD is a technology that involves certain risks, performing it only when the medical team of the fertility center finds it strictly necessary is crucial.

Surrogacy

Surrogacy is allowed in Russia, and the woman who surrogates her uterus can be compensated for carrying the pregnancy to term—i.e. commercial surrogacy.

This is a widely used technique among women with uterine problems or whose uterus is absent; in other words, women who are unable to become pregnant.

As in the above mentioned fertility treatments allowed in Russia, straight couples and single women can undergo surrogacy, while same-sex couples do not.

Access to assisted reproduction in Russia

Being a Russian citizen or a permanent resident in the Russian Federation is not a prerequisite: foreign patients pursuing a fertility treatment in Russia have equal right to access them.

According to law, users of assisted reproduction techniques are heterosexual couples and single women, regardless of whether they are married. Nevertheless, always before starting a fertility treatment, patients must sign an informed medical consent where they authorize the performance of any medical intervention necessary for concluding the fertility treatment that best fits their needs.

Same-sex couples, consisting of either two males of females, are not allowed to undergo assisted reproductive technologies.

Russian law does not establish an age limit to access assisted reproduction treatment, but just says it must be a woman of legal age (18 years old or older). Broadly speaking, patients up to 50 years are accepted into fertility treatment programs, although some women exceeding this age may be accepted as well, provided that the clinic is willing to run the risks these cases may entail.

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Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information about Andrea Rodrigo

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One comment

    1. Lucy_0234

      Russia will eventually work as the USA on this matter, I’m pretty sure! I think no one should have an opinion on economic compensations or money. That is a thing for the donor and parents to decide, and if they wish to compensate well the donor, what is your problem?