The Israeli government is currently debating a new bill that would allow compensated egg donation. While that legislation is pending, the Israeli Attorney General cleared the way for a lesbian couple to use one of the partner’s embryos:
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz directed the Health Ministry not to prevent or impose a limit on the transfer of eggs removed from a lesbian woman during fertility treatment to her domestic partner.
Mazuz’s directive, issued yesterday, was in response to a request by a woman who had previously had children as a result of in-vitro fertilization. Some of the eggs that had been fertilized with donated sperm were frozen, and the woman is now seeking to donate them to her partner, with whom she shares a household. Mazuz said that egg donation could be permitted by law under such circumstances, because it is not contrary to the public interest.
In making his decision, Mazuz noted that he was not creating or recognizing a new domestic status, which would fall within the purview of the legislature. He also called the current legal situation – in which the sensitive subject of egg donations is not properly dealt with, and in which such donations are forbidden outside of the context of medical treatment due to fertility problems – “unsatisfactory.”
The legal adviser to the Health Ministry, Mira Hibner-Harel, clarified yesterday that Mazuz’s decision does not apply to egg donations between all lesbian couples, and relates only to eggs extracted in the course of necessary medical treatment.
“The attorney general stated that each future case will be judged on its own merits, as long as there is no legislation on the subject,” Hibner-Harel told Haaretz.
She added that in the current case, “the woman who will impregnated with the eggs will be registered as the mother, whereas her domestic partner who donated the eggs will not be considered to be the mother at first, but will be required to pursue adoption proceedings.”
While the Haaretz article describes the the request as one for egg donation, it is actually a situation involving embryo donation given that the embryos already exist. Regardless, this maybe a meaningless nit as the decision would seemingly clear the way for one woman to actually donate her eggs to her partner for purposes of raising a family together.