In November, the scope of infertility treatments in public health care expanded, as we began to provide infertility treatments with donated eggs and sperm. Previously, this kind of treatment was only available at private fertility clinics.

Concrete preparations for infertility treatments with donated eggs and sperm was begun at HUS more than two years ago. This was about more than HUS, though: it is a national project where all university hospitals are involved, although with slightly differing timelines.

“We aim to have this service as uniform as possible nationwide, up to and including its practical delivery. The national working group established treatment criteria to ensure that the infertility treatment will be provided fairly and equally everywhere,” says Specialist Viveca Söderström-Anttila, who oversees the donated gametes project at the Reproductive Medicine unit.

Beginning to provide the treatments requires much investigation and the preparation of Standard Operating Procedures. Initially, we had to study in which situations treatments would be provided and for what kind of patients.

Because treatments are limited by the availability of gametes and the number of donors, infertility treatments with donated gametes are not covered by the treatment time guarantee. For a treatment decision to be made, the woman must be under 40 years old; a maximum of three courses of treatment will be offered.

The five-family rule applies to the use of donated gametes: the gametes donated by one person may be used to give children to no more than five families. An internal donor registry has been set up at HUS for this purpose. A treatment path and acceptability criteria have been drawn up for donors; identifiability and traceability of gametes has been confirmed; and marketing and a website have been planned. Permission to engage in tissue operations with donated gametes was sought from FIMEA and the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health.

“The organizing of psychologist services with HUS Psychiatry also required planning and work, as all donors and recipients will be given psychological counselling,” says Söderström-Anttila.

Infertility treatments with donated gametes are needed by persons who have no gametes of their own, for instance for genetic reasons, because of cancer treatments or because of surgery on their ovaries. A serious congenital disorder may also prevent a person from having a child using their own gametes. These treatments are also provided for female couples and for women who want to have a child alone.

Eggs may be donated by fundamentally healthy women aged 22 to 35, and sperm may be donated by fundamentally healthy men aged 20 to 45. Donor details are entered in a national donor registry. A child is entitled to be informed of the identity of the donor who is his/her biological parent when he/she is 18 years old.

The article was originally published in Husari 6/2019.