March 3, 2024


Supporters of a deregulated environment for assisted reproduction often complain that the world is a patchwork quilt of conflicting and inconsistent legislation. A debate in Finland shows how true this is. At the present time, there is no fertility law, despite the fact that the percentage of Finnish IVF births is one of the highest in the world.

So, for the past two years, a parliamentary committee has been debating how the industry should be regulated. Initially, it took a relatively conservative stand — it wanted to limit treatments to heterosexual couples, for instance. But the latest draft allows treatment for single women and lesbians and sets no age limit for treatment. However, to the dismay of the IVF clinics, it backs known donation of eggs and sperm, which would lead immediately to a shortage of sperm donors. It would also ban surrogacy and mandate the destruction of embryos created with anonymous gametes after six months. The proposals are sure to provoke a lively debate, says Helsinki IVF specialist Merja Tuomi-Nikula, because half of MPs apparently oppose IVF for lesbians.