[Gamete donation: (un)answered social and ethical issues in Portugal]

Sandra Pinto da Silva, Cláudia De Freitas, Inês Baía, Catarina Samorinha, Helena Machado, Susana Silva
Cadernos de Saúde Pública 2019 March 14, 35 (2): e00122918
Awareness of the discussion surrounding the social and ethical challenges regarding gamete donation is crucial for good governance of assisted reproduction techniques. In this article, we analyze the topics that guided the debate in the Portuguese ethics organizations, discussing their connections with themes addressed internationally. To that end, in March 2018, we systematically searched the websites of the National Council of Medically Assisted Procreation and of the National Ethics Council for Life Sciences. We carried out a thematic content analysis of 25 documents. Results indicate that the debate was focused on accessibility, anonymity and donors' compensation and, to a lesser extent, on professional responsibilities. We observed heterogeneous positions and tensions between multiple rights and ethical principles associated with recipients, donor-conceived individuals and donors. These invoke three similar arguments: the scarcity of scientific evidence; experiences from other countries; and regulations from in international entities. Literature addressed additional topics, namely: a double track that combines donor anonymity/identification; the implementation of reproduction registries for recipients and donors; limits to the genetic screening of donors; donations by family members/acquaintances; and donors' role in decisions regarding the fate of cryopreserved embryos and in choosing the characteristics of recipients of their gametes. There is room to expand the debate and to promote research on the social and ethical implications of gamete donation, considering the participation of all citizens.


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