Ova donations now possible at all hospitals in Israel

New regulations stipulating monetary compensation put 6-month-old law into effect across the country.

Pregnant women [illustrative]_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Pregnant women [illustrative]_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
More than six months after the passage of a law to legalize ova donations by healthy women who would be compensated financially, the donations at all hospitals will now begin. This was made possible thanks to the passing of regulations by the Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee on Monday.
Health Ministry legal adviser Mira Huebner told The Jerusalem Post that the law and the new arrangements are very complicated and thus could not be carried out without regulations, including stipulations how much money donors would receive for their travel time, discomfort, loss of work days and effort.
Until now, only women who were themselves undergoing fertility procedures could donate unneeded eggs to other women for altruistic reasons. But the serious shortage of eggs that had been forcing couples to go abroad and pay large sums for the ova coupled with illegal activities by at least one Israeli fertility specialist here as well as others allegedly in a Romanian clinic provided the incentive for the new legislation.
The bill regulating ova donations was in the making for a decade and required recognition of continuity from the Ministerial Committee on Legislation so it could be passed by this Knesset after it was left hanging by the previous Knesset, which passed it on its first reading and then got stuck in disagreement.
The ministry finally took the initiative after Deputy Health Minister MK Ya’acov Litzman – a Gur hassid representing United Torah Judaism – began to study the bill and became a strong advocate.
Huebner said she hoped the new regulations, which include payment of a total of NIS 10,000 to each donor, would lead to the donation of many more ova, which are now almost unavailable except from abroad.
“It’s one of the most complex pieces of legislation I have worked on due to its ethical, commercial, legal, religious and medical implications,” Huebner said.
Kadima MK Dr. Rachel Adatto told the committee that she couldn’t vote for the regulations because the NIS 10,000 was “too small.” But the majority of the committee members did approve the regulations.
The general hospitals and the four health funds were informed of the new service.
All licensed IVF units will be required to carry out the procedure according to the number of donors.
Committee chairman MK Haim Katz concluded that the passing of regulations was a first step that would grant fertility treatment to women who needed ova donations, thereby allowing them to avoid much more expensive treatments abroad. But the regulations “are not yet complete and they will be limited to one year. Then we will convene again to assess whether they were successful and consider changes and additions,” he said.