Better late than never – what a day. TGIF!
United States/Arizona & Michigan – ASRM Bulletin –
Arizona – The governor has signed into law revised versions of SB 1306 and SB 1307, bills introduced with the backing of the conservative group, the Center for Arizona Policy. The final versions included amendments that mitigated some of the difficulties with these bills but problems do remain.
On a positive note, SB 1306 was changed so that it does not ban compensation for reproductive egg donors, keeping egg donation available for Arizona patients who need that treatment to build their families. However its mandatory informed consent provisions remain intact. Informed consent is already obtained by physicians for all egg donation procedures, but the Arizona legislature has devised a list of specific information to be provided to potential egg donors prior to screening or testing them for possible donation.
SB 1307 prohibits non-therapeutic research on embryos that causes their injury, death or destruction and it bans the in vitro creation of a human embryo by any means other than the fertilization of a human egg by a human sperm. As a result, Arizona researchers will be precluded from deriving any human embryonic stem cell lines from donated IVF embryos or somatic cell nuclear transfer embryos and Arizona patients may find it more difficult to donate their unneeded embryos to research after completing their families.
Michigan – The Michigan Senate approved anti-stem cell measures, SB 648-652, which impose excessive new burdens on professionals providing infertility care in that state. ASRM opposes these bills, the most troubling of which, SB 649, would dictate specific points that must be covered in the informed consent to patients prior to commencing ART procedures and imposes civil fines on professionals who violate the standardized informed consent process. The bill would also grant the state the authority to track a host of private information, including the number of eggs retrieved during treatment, the number of embryos transferred during treatment and the number of embryos stored.
Jewish Religion & Egg Donors – Yes, fertility treatment is set to get more complicated for those of the Jewish faith.
What does a Jewish child need most from a mother? Forget about the chicken soup—it’s all about the eggs, say a growing number of prominent rabbis. Several recent rabbinic rulings on fertility treatment dictate that a child conceived in vitro is Jewish only if the egg came from a Jewish woman.
The issue is most pressing in Israel, in part because tight restrictions on egg donation have long compelled infertile women to procure eggs abroad, where most donors are not Jewish. But decisions in Israel favoring the genetic mother over the gestational one are also likely to increase the already high demand for Jewish eggs in the U.S., and could call into question the religious status of thousands of children born to Jewish women around the world.
Traditional denominations of Judaism believe that faith is passed down from mother to child. Until recently, Orthodox rabbinic authorities widely recognized the birth mother as the parent who confers religious status on her offspring. But at the January conference in Jerusalem of the Puah Institute, Rabbi Mordechai Halperin said that the pendulum of rabbinic opinion has swung toward conferring maternity on the egg donor. Puah provides services internationally to Jews who want to make sure that their fertility treatments are in line with religious law.
Thailand – New laws are being drafted to protect surrogate mothers and any offspring.
This law permits two kinds of surrogate pregnancy: the one that uses the egg and sperm of a married couple; or one that uses the egg or sperm of either a husband or a wife, paired with the sperm or egg of another person.
According to the draft law, the Juvenile and Family Court would be given the authority of judging paternity cases for such children and a committee would be set up to protect the children. It also stipulates that the surrogate mother should be married, and her husband should consent to another man’s sperm being used. The draft law also authorises the Medical Council to set the criteria, methods and financial conditions for the care of surrogate mothers before, during and after the pregnancy.
The draft law also covers the criteria for the donation of eggs or sperm, their storage and the use of ART.
Israel – Power outage at IVF lab damages embryos.
A power outage at Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv has damaged the fertilized eggs of nine couples undergoing in vitro fertilization, rendering them unusable, the hospital said this week.
Assuta officials told the couples – including one from abroad who came to Israel specifically for IVF treatment – that they shouldn’t use the eggs because the freezing process was likely to have failed. The hospital said it would pay for additional treatments.
“It was not a system failure, but a human error by the engineer who carried out a particular action in the system,” said Assuta’s chief of gynecology, Dr. Rami Mushonov. “The electrical systems at Assuta are intact and are backed up continuously. We have approached all the couples and sat with each individually to explain what happened to them.”
The hospital said it has thoroughly examined the incident and reviewed its practices “to make sure that this will not happen again.” The Health Ministry said it has yet to decide whether to appoint an investigatory committee.