18 Sep Portugal: the end of donors’ anonymity
The Constitutional Court of Portugal, which in 2009 defended the anonymity of gamete donors, now demands their identification.
The cause must be sought in the recent law on surrogacy, which was appealed to the Constitutional Court. Although the law is saved, the Court tombs six fundamental articles, referred to the anonymity of the donors and to the “violation of the right to the identity of the person” with retroactive effects until the year 2006.
What are the consequences of the end of donor anonymity in Portugal?
Due to the decision of the Constitutional Court, a decrease in donations in Portugal of around 40% is foreseen, if we are guided by what has happened in other countries. In addition, longer waiting times and more expensive treatments in the country.
The effects of this sentence affect both donors and patients. Both those who already have embryos cryopreserved from gametes from anonymous donors, and those who need access to these treatments from now.
What should couples who want to perform a new ovum donation treatment in Portugal know?
From this moment, donors will be informed to start a cycle in Portugal that children born from their gametes will have the right to request their personal data from breeding centers. Thus, if the future parents wish to carry out an anonymous donation cycle, the treatment must take place in another country that guarantees anonymity, as is the case in Spain.
It must be taken into account that the CNMPA (National Council for Medically Assisted Procreation) has recommended to the centers that, for the time being, they should suspend the treatments with anonymous donors.
What should couples with frozen embryos from an egg donation cycle in Portugal know?
Couples who have frozen embryos performed through an egg donation cycle in Portugal before the constitutional sentence and want to transfer them, may do so if they have the express consent of the donor that accepts to donate their material in a non-anonymous manner.
We must bear in mind that the donors accepted to be included in the donation program under the condition that the donation was anonymous and now the rules have changed.
What happens if the donor is unlocatable or does not accept to donate openly?
If the reproduction center fails to contact the donor, or the donor refuses to sign the consent, the embryos can not be used, since the use of embryos from anonymous donors is now prohibited in Portugal.
Fertty International is already helping several Portuguese couples to carry out their cycles guaranteeing the anonymity of the donors. The extensive experience in international treatments of our team is key when managing procedures remotely minimizing travel, and our Patient Care department also collaborates with the management of travel (flights, accommodation, etc.)
In summary: those patients who wish to cycle with anonymous donors or those who are not willing to suffer the long waiting time that is expected for non-anonymous donation cycles, will have no choice but to travel outside of Portugal to access these treatments anonymously and immediately.