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In vitro fertilization in Greece: Controlling the whole course from donor to birth

Featured In vitro fertilization in Greece: Controlling the whole course from donor to birth

Soon, single men will also be able to have a child and create a single-parent family, through surrogate motherhood and IVF. This issue will begin to be discussed in the coming weeks in Greece as well, through the National Authority for Assisted Reproduction.

The cause was a court decision which vindicated an interested party, who, at his request, claimed the creation of a single-parent family, on the basis of equal treatment of both sexes.

The legislation currently provides this possibility only for single women (not married and not living in a free cohabitation in a formal relationship), under the condition of her inability to give birth naturally.

The relevant announcement was made by the president of the National Authority for Assisted Reproduction Prof. Nikolaos Vrachnis, on the occasion of two events organized by the Authority to inform doctors and the public about the changes brought about by the latest relevant law on IVF in Greece, since last summer.

Regarding the criteria for single men, Mr. Vrachnis said that issues of age and health status will be raised, but social criteria will be discussed after investigating what happens abroad in similar cases. For example, he mentioned that in England, a single man is allowed to find a surrogate mother, who with a donor egg and his own sperm will give birth to his child, which will be handed over to him by court order.

Limit 10 children

Since the implementation of the new law, 2,800 female donors, 101 male donors and 763 foreign samples have been registered in the Authority's Electronic Registry of Reproductive Donors.

The creation of the Registry now enables the traceability of the reproductive material used in cases of assisted reproduction, as well as the possibility of controlling the number of children born from the same donor. The control is carried out, as already from the legislation of 2005, it is forbidden to give birth to more than 10 children or to more than 10 families from the same donor, in order to avoid incidents of inbreeding and the diseases that this entails.

In this context, all assisted reproduction units and cryopreservation banks will give details and medical data about the reproductive material and the donor, in real time to the Registry, so that the traceability of the reproductive material from the donor to the recipient is possible.

To date, the registration concerns donors from February 17 of last year, but older data from 2021 is gradually being registered, in order to be able to control the number of children born from the material of the same donor, as there is the above-mentioned limitation. The number of 10 children has been chosen based on statistical data, as it is considered extremely rare for two brothers of different sexes to marry each other so that there is a risk of incestuous diseases. After donating to 10 families, the donor is deactivated and assisted reproduction units cannot use their material.

It is noted that donors of reproductive material can be up to 40 years old or strictly up to 50 years old with special permission from the Authority.

HIV Assisted Reproduction Unit

Assisted Reproduction Unit for HIV/AIDS carriers is provided for by the latest law 4958, as there is no risk of transmission of the virus to people receiving effective medication. The possibility of applying assisted reproduction services to HIV-positive people is envisaged by the development of a relevant unit at the "Attiko" hospital, separate from the already existing assisted reproduction unit that already operates there.

For the creation of the new unit, as Mr. Vrachnis pointed out, it is necessary to investigate the building factor in the hospital area, but also – ideally – to find a financier who will make the relevant donation for the construction of the new building. For the operation of the unit, it will be necessary to hire the necessary staff, i.e. reproductive gynecologist, embryologist, midwife and psychologist.

The operation of the unit will be possible, at the earliest six months after the completion of the building, after the sponsorship has been found.

Cryopreservation for social reasons

Without a strict age limit, the National Authority for Assisted Reproduction recommends that young women up to 35 years of age, if they choose for personal reasons to have children at an older age, proceed with cryopreservation of their eggs, in order to prevent the deterioration of the genetic material. The reason is that after the age of 35 it is more difficult to fertilize the ova.

Cryopreservation is also allowed for minors, but strictly only for medical reasons, as long as it is about oncological cases.

The informative events

The changes in the legislation on assisted reproduction will be presented to the public and to health professionals by the president of the Authority Prof. N. Vrachnis, MP - rapporteur of the new law Elena Rapti and Christina Bomba - Tanimanidis, who will refer to the way she herself experienced assisted reproduction.

The first event will take place on Wednesday February 8th at 6pm at Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the second in Thessaloniki on February 13th at 6pm. at the Officers Club.