For 5 years, access to heterologous fertilization has been authorized in Italy: let’s see how it works
Five years ago a ruling of the Council rejected the prohibition of heterologous contained in the law 40, and current data reveal that twenty thousand Italian couples have requested this type of procedure to become parents and five thousand children have already come to light with heterologous fertilization. But what is it and when is it indicated?
What is it
There heterologous fertilization is a Medically Assisted Procreation procedure which consists in the insertion into the woman’s uterus, through a very thin catheter, of a sperm sample from a donor different from the partner and would-be father. On the other hand, homologous fertilization is defined when the spermatozoa are not from a donor but from the partner. Eggs from a donor can also be used where the woman is unable to conceive.
How does it work
Couples who cannot conceive naturally and even with modern medically assisted procreation techniques can resort to the gods male gametes (spermatozoa), feminine (oocytes) or both simultaneously with one double donation.
In Italy there is still no culture of donation in this area, therefore heterologous is applied thanks to the import of oocytes and gametes from abroad (95% of female and male gametes come from banks ester).
When is it indicated?
When the couple is unable to conceive naturally, they go to a center specialized in the techniques of Medically Assisted Procreation who will carry out a series of tests and analyzes to understand the cause of infertility. Only after shedding light on the causes will it be possible to evaluate which procedure is most suitable for being able to conceive.
The heterologous is used when assisted fertilization of type homologue it cannot be effective due to a permanent infertility condition of one or both partners.
Video: Homologous and heterologous fertilization
In this video, Dr. Andrea Borini, head of the 9PuntoBaby network, talks about the difference between homologous and heterologous fertilization
Heterologous fertilization in Italy. What the law says
For many years the heterologous fertilization was prohibited by law 40 in Italy, the one that regulates access to the various techniques of Medically Assisted Procreation and which has been profoundly modified over the years thanks to the judgments on the unconstitutionality of the various prohibitions. Only in 2014 the heterologous fertilization was authorized also in our country. The art. 5 of Law 40/2004 declares that they can use heterologous
adult couples, of different sexes, married or cohabiting, of childbearing age, both living
This technique is incorporated in LEA, the essential levels of care, and is accessible in private and public centers, even if there is still a great gap at the regional level because each establishes a different path to have access to MAP and heterologous. This explains why thousands of Italian couples still support the expense of a Trip abroad to contact centers in Spain, Austria, Denmark.
Heterologous fertilization for singles
In Italy, It is not allowed single women or women with female partners to access assisted fertilization, in other countries, such as Spain, this prohibition does not exist because the law allows all women to have recourse to MAP.
The main risks of heterologous fertilization are:
- ovarian hyperstimulation: when using male gametes the woman will have to undergo ovarian stimulation treatments and this can increase the risk of nausea, enlarged ovaries, abdominal distension, blood clot formation and peritoneal infections
the scientific literature shows an increased risk of miscarriage and of premature birth for the woman who has conceived with heterologous fertilization;
- twin pregnancies because more than one embryo can be transferred.
It is also impossible not to consider the risk …