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Poland passes IVF law

29 June 2015
Appeared in BioNews 808

Poland's lower house of parliament has approved a bill that, for the first time, provides statutory regulation of IVF in the country.

Although IVF has been available in Poland for 25 years, and has attracted state funding since 2013 (see BioNews 703), it has remained largely unregulated.

Poland's coalition government, led by the centre-right Civic Platform, has attempted to pass legislation on IVF for several years but had been unsuccessful due to opposition, mainly from the Roman Catholic Church.

However, in last week's vote, the lower house - the Sejm - voted 261 for the bill, with 176 voting against and six abstentions. The majority of the ruling Civic Platform party voted in favour of the bill, while the conservative, Catholic opposition Law and Justice party voted against the bill.

The bill still needs approval from the Senate and the President, although it is expected that they will back the law since the Government is taking steps to increase the number of births in the ageing nation. However, the opposition has warned it may take the bill to a special court that rules on the constitutionality of new laws.

Under the new bill, both married and unwed couples will be eligible for IVF if other treatments have not given results in 12 months, and they will be permitted to have up to six eggs fertilised.

Unused embryos may be used by other women after 20 years, but cannot be destroyed. Under the bill, trading in or destroying embryos is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The bill also bans the cloning of human embryos, the manipulation of human DNA, and techniques that would influence the embryo's gender.

Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said it was a 'success of Poland's freedom' and a 'chance for some happiness' for the couples involved. She added that she was optimistic the bill would be approved before parliamentary elections this autumn.

Poland's Lawmakers Approve in Vitro Fertilization Bill
The New York Times (AP) |  25 June 2015
Polish parliament passes bill on right to IVF treatment
Reuters |  25 June 2015
Polish parliament passes law regulating IVF
Yahoo News (AFP) |  25 June 2015
7 December 2015 - by Dr Rosie Gilchrist 
The newly elected conservative government in Poland plans to cut state funding for IVF, two years after the scheme was introduced...
16 March 2015 - by Jessica Ware 
Poland's government has drafted legislation to regulate IVF in the country. If it becomes law, Poland will become one of the last countries in the European Union to legislate for assisted conception...
7 May 2013 - by Jessica Ware 
Poland's justice minister has been dismissed from his position after weeks of conflict with the country's prime minister over state-funded IVF and civil partnership...
25 October 2010 - by Nishat Hyder 
Polish MPs have begun debating measures to regulate fertility treatments, sparking widespread discussions over the regulatory options and ethical considerations surrounding assisted conception...
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