May 21, 2024

500 embryos disappear from Croatian clinic

Supporters of more liberal assisted reproduction legislation in Croatia are using the disappearance of 500 frozen embryos to press for reform. The embryos, which belonged to couples from Croatia, Austria, Bosnia and Switzerland, disappeared from the Petrova Hospital in Zagreb. They were the responsibility of a gynaecologist, Asim Kurjak, who is being investigated by police for implanting frozen embryos without permission of the donors. A black market in frozen embryos operates in Croatia, with eggs reportedly being sold for 1,000 Euros.

Croatian IVF began only five years after the birth of Louise Brown in 1978. However, its IVF legislation has not been updated since the late 1970s. As a result, says Justice Minister Vesna Skare- Ozbolt, “the state has absolutely no control over medically assisted reproduction, which enters into the domain of a black market involving dozens of thousands of Euros”.