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New Fertility Laws Drive Patients Abroad

Some Finnish patients receiving fertility treatments have taken their fertilised embryos abroad to Estonia or Latvia for treatment.

Last autumn a new law came into force in Finland, which prohibits the anonymous donation of reproductive cells. The law has meant that embryos created by unidentified donors can no longer be used.

Under the new regime, patients can only obtain fertility treatment using a registry of reproductive cells from known donors. When children born from fertility treatments become adults, they gain the right to know the identities of their biological parents.

Couples Left With Unusable Embryos

When the law came into force, it left many childless couples with fertilised embryos which they could no longer use for implantation. Some of those couples have now taken their embryos to other locations outside of Finland such as Estonia, where they can continue to use their fertilised embryos without running afoul of the law.

The phenomenon has reared its head in places such as the Tampere clinic of the Family Federation of Finland. Medical Chief of Staff Eero Varila says the law does not oblige the clinic to destroy its embryos, although they can no longer be used in Finland.

Patients at the AVA Clinic, also in Tampere, have opted to take their embryos abroad to other Latvia, where the clinic also has operations.

Fertility clinics continue to hope that the law will be revised. However those hopes are likely to be dashed, as the Justice Ministry has indicated that there are no current plant to review the legislation.

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