Knesset Approves Bill Easing Restrictions on Egg Donation in Israel

New law allows young women to donate their eggs to couples that are having trouble getting pregnant.

The Knesset on Monday approved a bill would allow young women to donate their eggs to couples that are having trouble getting pregnant.

The new law puts an end to Israeli couples turning to the black market for foreign egg donation, an illegal enterprise has rolled in millions of dollars over recent years.

The new legislation would allow Israeli women between the ages of 20 and 35 to donate ova. Payment for donors has not been determined, but is expected to be set at NIS 6,000. Compensation for egg donors would be higher than that for sperm donors, as ova harvesting requires patients to undergo hormone treatment.

The bill stipulates that a woman suffering from fertility problems can request eggs from donors between the ages of 18 and 51, whose expenses are covered by Israel's health basket. The law designates that the egg donation must be anonymous, and that any baby born through in vitro fertilization considered the legal child of the recipient.

A genetic database will allow individuals over the age of 18 to check whether they were conceived through third-party reproduction, without exposing the identity of the egg donor. Couples wishing to marry, in which one partner was born through in vitro fertilization, will be able to check the database to determine whether they have any biological ties to their prospective spouse.

The database will also allow egg recipients to ascertain the donor's religion. In certain cases, the new law would allow a recipient to choose a donor. The bill, however, prohibits healthy Israeli women from undergoing hormone treatment with the specific goal of traveling abroad to donate their eggs.