Bulgaria to likely allow IVF with dead spouses’ genetic material

Bulgaria currently bans such procedures but some, including the ombudsman, said they want to change the law. [Shutterstock/MidoSemsem]

Bulgaria will most likely allow in vitro procedures to be performed with genetic material from deceased spouses, a health ministry proposal has stated.

Bulgaria currently bans such procedures but some, including the ombudsman, said they want to change the law.

If the health ministry’s proposal is approved, the husband must have left a written statement permitting his partner to continue the IVF process with his sperm.

For the genetic material to be used, at least a year and no more than 36 months must have passed since his death, as the goal is to minimise the risk of the spouse making emotional decisions immediately after the loss of her partner.

The Bulgarian authorities also looked into the practices of other countries.

Sweden, Germany and Austria currently ban such procedures, while Italy and the Czech Republic have allowed them following a decision from a court. In France and Portugal, such procedures are allowed if the partner makes a lifetime declaration, while the UK requires approval from a court and an ethics committee.

Тhe Bulgarian ministry’s project will also limit the number of anonymous sperm or egg donations – up to five times and not less than four months between two donations.

“The limitation in the number of donations further contributes to reducing the risk of genetically related individuals meeting in the population and producing offspring,” the ministry said in a statement. In practice, cases of excessive frequency of manipulations have been identified, including in each cycle, which poses a risk to the health of the donor and imposes this restriction,” the ministry added.

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