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The Finnish Law on Assisted Conception Treatments was approved 22 December 2006

In this law a couple means woman and man living together in marriage or in a relationship comparable to marriage.

A woman not living in a marriage or in a relationship comparable to marriage can also be treated if certain preconditions are fulfilled.

The Finnish law forbids the following:

1) genetically manipulated gametes and embryos,

2) cloned embryos, and

3) gametes and embryos which have been used in research

When the gametes of a donor have provided progeny to five recipients of assisted conception treatment, the gametes donated by that person may no longer be used in assisted conception treatment given to others.

Influencing the characteristics of the child

The health of the child to be born may be influenced by selecting gametes or embryos that have been verified to be free of serious illness. Determination of the child's sex may be influenced if the gametes used in the assisted conception treatment are the couple's own and the child born from these gametes would be at substantial risk of serious illness if the child were to be of the other sex.

If donated gametes are used in the assisted conception treatment, the attending physician shall select gametes whose donor resembles in appearance the respective parent of the child to be born, unless otherwise requested by the person receiving treatment.

Disposal of gametes and embryos

Stored gametes and embryos shall be destroyed without delay once the service provider becomes aware of the death of the person whose gametes are concerned or either of the persons whose gametes gave rise to the embryos.

Gametes and embryos stored for treatment of one's own infertility shall be destroyed without delay once the service provider receives a request for such disposal from the person whose gametes are concerned or, in respect of embryos, from either of the persons whose gametes gave rise to the embryos.

Donated gametes or embryos shall be destroyed without delay when it has been observed in a physical inspection or by other means that they cannot be used in assisted conception treatment or when the donor has withdrawn his/her consent to the use of the gametes in assisted conception treatment. Donated gametes and embryos shall nonetheless be destroyed no later than ten years from the collection of the donation.

A service provider shall notify the National Authority for Medicolegal Affairs if it is aware of the gametes of a given donor not having been used in assisted conception treatment prior to disposal thereof.

Instead of being destroyed, gametes and embryos may be used for another legal purpose if a consent for such use has been obtained from the person or persons whose gametes are concerned or whose gametes gave rise to the embryos.

Prohibition on provision of assisted conception treatment

Assisted conception treatment may not be provided if:

1) the written consent of the person receiving the treatment has not been obtained,

2) either party of the couple receiving treatment is married to a third person,

3) pregnancy would pose a substantial risk to the health of the woman of the child due to the age of health of the woman,

4) a person consenting to the provision of assisted conception treatment has withdrawn consent or died,

5) it is apparent that the child's balanced development cannot be guaranteed, or

6) there is reason to presume that the child will be given up for adoption.

The decision of providing assisted conception treatment shall be taken by the attending physician after ensuring that the conditions for providing treatment have been met.

The method used in assisted conception treatment, compliance with any conditions imposed and the date(s) of use of the method as well as confirmation of pregnancy shall be noted on the archived copy of the consent to treatment. The service provider shall furnish the person who has received assisted conception treatment with this data upon request.

The service provider providing assisted conception treatment shall notify the service provider which collected the donation when assisted conception treatment referred has resulted in the birth of a child and the sperm of a donor who gave his consent that he may be confirmed as the father of the child born as a result of the treatment which was used in that treatment. The party which collected the donation shall notify the donor thereof without delay and inform him of the donor code assigned to him and the service provider which provided the treatment.

Gametes may be donated by persons over the age of 18 who pass a physical examination ensuring that:

1) the donation of gametes does not pose a health hazard to them, and

2) they do not have any serious hereditary illness or any communicable disease that may case a serious illness to the woman receiving assisted conception treatment or to the child who may be born as a result of assisted conception treatment. Instead of identification data, donors shall be referred to by code only (donor code) after being accepted as donor in the physical examination. The service provider collecting the donation shall enter the donor code on the archived copy of the donor consent.

Information to be collected about the donor

The provisions concerning the protection of personal data notwithstanding, information describing the colour of the donor's skin, eyes and hair as well as the donor's height and ethnic origin may be collected and recorded in connection with the physical examination on the donor. No other information about the donor may be collected.

A donor's gametes may be used in assisted conception treatment only if the donor has given such consent to the service provider collecting the donation. Prior to consent, the donor shall be counselled as to the medical and legal ramifications of the donation of gametes.

The gametes of a donor may be used in the assisted conception treatment of persons other than couples only by the donor's consent. A sperm donor may furthermore give his consent that he may be confirmed as the father of a child to be born as a result of such treatment.

A couple may donate extra embryos created for use in their own assisted conception treatment for use in the assisted conception treatment of another. The consent of both the woman and the man is required for donation, and both shall be considered donors. The provisions herein concerning the donation and transfer of gametes shall apply to the donation and transfer of such embryos.

Right of person born from donated gamete or embryo to obtain information

Non-disclosure provisions notwithstanding, a person who may have been born from a donated gamete or embryo shall, upon attaining the age of eighteen (18), be entitled to obtain from the service provider a copy of the consent to treatment and the donor code noted thereon and, by providing the donation register with the code, to learn the identity of the donor.

In the event that assisted conception treatment has been provided and the donor of the sperm has given his consent that he may be confirmed as the father of the child born as a result of such treatment, the mother and the child are entitled to learn from the service provider the donor code and, by providing the donation register with the code, the identity of the donor.

Olavi Ylikorkala, MD, PhD

Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Helsinki University

 
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