Women in Israel are to be allowed to buy imported eggs because the Israeli government has overturned a six-month ban. It is the first time that the purchase of body parts or tissue has been allowed for medical use in Israel.
Previous laws in Israel only allowed the donation of eggs by women who were already undergoing fertility treatment, a policy which resulted in a severe shortage. Concerns that Israeli doctors were taking eggs from women without their consent or going abroad to buy eggs, led to a decline in the number of women donating, exacerbating the shortage and leading health minister Nissim Dahan to institute the ban on imports. The Israeli High Court of Justice was petitioned by 90 infertile women who were waiting for eggs to order an end to the ban. Lawyers were unable to defend the ban in the High Court and Dahan realised he would have to overturn it.
Israeli doctors will soon travel to Romania - likely to be the source of most imported eggs - to ensure standards are met during the collection of eggs. Importation will only be allowed if certain criteria are met, including tests on the donor for hepatitis B and C and moderate and controlled hormonal treatment in the production of the eggs. Fertilisation of the imported eggs must take place in an Israeli fertility clinic and be with the sperm of the intended mother's partner.