Key laws and policies
Assisted reproduction is governed by Human Reproductive Technology Ordinance (Cap. 561, Laws of Hong Kong: http://www.legislation.gov.hk/blis_pdf.nsf/6799165D2FEE3FA94825755E0033E532/795C7496522C8237482575EF001B5A45?OpenDocument&bt=0).
The regulatory/ licensing body for ART in Hong Kong is the Council on Human Reproductive Technology.
Permitted and regulated practices
Under section 8 of the Ordinance, the Code of Practice on Reproductive Technology and Embryo Research (the Code) has been produced to provide guidelines for ART service providers and embryo research in Hong Kong.
Under the guidelines, ART treatment should only be provided to legally married couples.
In assessing the suitability for ART treatment, the welfare of the child is of paramount importance.
The following factors will be considered in assessing a couple’s suitability for ART treatment:
- Their physical, mental, and social well-being
- Their medical histories and the medical histories of their families
- Their ages and likely future ability to look after or provide for a child's needs
- Their commitment to having and bringing up a child or children
- Their ability to provide a stable and supportive environment for any child born as a result of treatment
- Their ability to meet the needs of any child or children who may be born as a result of treatment, including the implications of any possible multiple births or disability
- Any risk of harm to the child or children who may be born, including the risk of inherited disorders, problems during pregnancy, and of neglect or abuse
Note: “The Human Reproductive Technology Ordinance, passed in 1997, dictates that fertility treatment in Hong Kong can only be offered to heterosexual married couples. But, that legislation could possibly change as the Equal Opportunities Commission is in the midst of completing a public consultation on the review of discrimination law.” (http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/health/article/1677954/hong-kong-ban-ivf-unwed-discriminatory-say-critics)
Commercial surrogacy is prohibited by statute (s 17), and any surrogacy arrangement is unenforceable (s 18).
Gamete and Embryo Donation
Gamete and embryo donation are not permitted. Only the gametes and embryos of the intended parents (or the surrogate mother) may be used.
Embryo research requires a license. In order to obtain a license the research must be:
- to promote advances in the treatment of infertility;
- to increase knowledge about the causes or treatment of congenital disease;
- to increase knowledge about the causes or treatment of miscarriages;
- to develop more effective techniques of contraception;
- to develop methods for detecting the presence of gene or chromosome abnormalities in embryos before implantation;
- to increase knowledge about the development of embryos;
- to increase knowledge about serious disease; or
- to enable such knowledge to be applied in the development of treatments to combat serious disease