Croatia wants to import sperm and eggs


Southern Europe


Cryos, the biggest sperm bank worldwide, is located in Denmark Photo AFP, Henning Bagger

Croatia is running out of sperm for infertile couples. Therefore, the government is switching its strategy.

Donation of sperm and egg cells has been legal in Croatia since 2012. But it has not been busy at the places where such donations are possible. In fact, nobody has donated since, reports the Croatian daily Večernji list. According to prof. Dinka Pavičić Baldani, a possible reason is that anonymous donation is forbidden in the Balkan country. Furthermore, it is not possible to get a payment for a donation.

Infertile Croatian couples had to travel abroad to get help. But now, the Croatian government plans to import sperm from other EU countries. The Croatian daily Jutarnji list writes that the ground is prepared for the import of gametes from “highly controlled licensed banks” in the European Union, such as from Spain, Denmark and Italy.

Despite this claim, several media recently reported on the lack of transparency at these sperm banks. Anonymous donors can often go about their business undisturbed, submitting hundreds of donations to these banks, even though these banks officially operate with a donation limit.


Since the 2012 law offers an opportunity for citizens to get sperm, the Croatian state is obliged to fulfil the intended parents’ wishes, Jutarnji list writes. The paper outlines three scenarios of how the state could do so: by establishing its own sex cell bank with donors from Croatia, by sending couples abroad for heterologous fertilisation at the expense of the state, or by importing from licensed gamete banks. The Croatian government is now moving from the second to the third scenario.

For intended parents to get hold of such sperm, the procedure should be straightforward. When doctors determine that a specific couple cannot conceive without donated gametes, the authorised health institution for carrying out heterologous fertilisation procedures will order the necessary gametes from the contracted bank.

Social infertility

Besides heterosexual couples, single women can also claim sperm donation. But only if they can prove fertility problems. So-called ‘social infertility’, because a woman has no partner, is not a legitimate reason for a sperm donation.

When the first planes carrying sperm fly into Croatian airspace depends on how quickly the Croatian authorities proceed. Before importing, it is necessary to pass several regulations, which will prescribe the entire procedure in detail. According to Jutarnji List, contracts with sperm banks have already been established. “The procedures can be started practically immediately after the Ministry passes implementing acts.”



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