Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 107–109 | Cite as

Legal and ethical issues in the international transaction of donor sperm and eggs

  • Boon Chin Heng
Around the World


Pertinent ethical and legal issues in the international transaction of donor sperm and eggs are discussed. Firstly, there may be legislative and ethical “contradiction” by the local health authority in permitting import of donor gametes, due to varying policies on donor reimbursement in different countries. This is particularly significant in countries where the underlying principle of gamete donation is altruistic motivation, and where reimbursement is given only for direct “out-of-pocket” expenses i.e. traveling costs. Secondly, there is a lack of clear and coherent internationally-binding legislation and regulatory guidelines overseeing the exchange of donor gametes across international borders. In particular, provisions should be made for donor traceability if gametes are sourced from abroad. Thirdly, in the case of “frozen-egg donation” from abroad, patients must rightfully be informed that current cryopreservation technology is still sub-optimal, and all studies have consistently shown that the chances of conception are always lower with “frozen-eggs” compared to freshly-retrieved eggs. Finally, regulatory safeguards should be put in place to prevent fertility clinics and medical professionals from “re-selling” imported donor gametes at a profit to the patient, since it would be thoroughly unprofessional for them to earn a profit simply through the ‘brokerage’ of donated human material.


Eggs Ethics Export Gametes Import Legal Sperm 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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