Key laws and policies
- The “Law of Embryo Donation to Infertile Couples” was approved by the Iranian Parliament in 2003 and has been operative since 2005. (Note: Once the law was approved by the parliament, the law was sent to the Guardian Council to decide whether such laws were based on Islamic principles. The Guardian Council endorsed the Act governing embryo donation, and the law became fully operative in 2005.)
Research on human cloning is prohibited, but embryonic stem cell research using embryos left over from fertility treatment is permitted.
Permitted and regulated practices
According to “Law of Embryo Donation to Infertile Couples” and its bylaw (approved in 2005), embryo donation is permitted in Iran under certain conditions:
- It must take place in specialized and authorized centers for infertility treatment.
- Donor couples must be legally married and be in a proper state of physical and mental health.
- The donation must be voluntary and free of charge.
- The recipients must be infertile married couples and Iranians who have previously submitted their mutual request to the Civil Court.
- Recipients must be the same religion as the donor couple.
Note: Embryo is defined as "the egg fertilized outside the uterus" and should be obtained from legally married couples within five days of the fertilization procedure. (The donated embryo may be fresh or frozen.)
- There is not a specific law governing surrogacy although a proposed bill is under consideration.
- In the absence of a codified law, it is possible to seek advice from authentic fatwas and legitimate Islamic resources (Article 167 of Constitution), as well as the law for embryo donation and other general laws to resolve disputes concerning surrogacy.
- Clinics that offer such alternative treatments have their own internal policies, which include mutual consent between the infertile couple and the surrogate women and her husband, if she is married. The regulations do not prohibit paying the surrogate. The intended mother is recognized as the child’s mother, and the birth certificate is issued under the names of the intended mother and her husband, and is not delivered to the surrogate women.
- In addition there has been some suggestion that a surrogacy contract might be accepted pursuant to Article 10 of the Iranian Civil Act 1928. (See Amir Samavati Pirouz, Ph.D. and Nassrin Mehra, Ph.D. "Legal Issues of a Surrogacy Contract Based on Iranian Acts." June 2011, 5(2) Journal of Family and Reproductive Health, pp41-50. (Available at http://journals.tums.ac.ir/.)
- It is still considered that the true parents of the child (pedar va madar-e hokmi) are the providers of the egg and sperm, and not the recipients of the embryo (infertile parents).
- In the case of surrogacy and embryo transfer, a few Shia authorities consider a reciprocal inheritance between the child and the woman who gives birth to the child (Garmaroudi Naef, “Gestational Surrogacy,” pp. 168-69).
- This leads to secrecy about the child’s status. (See below regarding information for the child.)
Information for Child
- Socially, the withholding of information from the child is supported as a way to avoid the laws and sharia of the child being able to claim inheritance from the donors or birth mother.
- Iranian legislation has shown considerable support for this approach. According to Article 10 of the bylaw of the Law of Embryo Donation, donor and recipient information must be kept confidential and only accessible by competent authorities under special legal conditions.
Global IVF (Website):
- Some clinics offer egg donors.
- Sperm donation is not permissible but some clinics do offer it when medically necessary to a married couple.
- Embryo donation is permitted by law.
- Some clinics offer on-site surrogates, although because there does not appear to be any laws regulating surrogacy, it is not recommended. Source: http://globalivf.com/directory/laws/iran/).