THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH
On strengthening prevention of law violations on IVF and AS
THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
Independence - Freedom - Happiness
Hanoi, July 12, 2022
- Health Departments of provinces and centrally-run cities;
- Hospitals affiliated to the Ministry of Health;
- Military Medical Department under the Ministry of National Defence;
- Health agencies of ministries and branches.
In recent times, the situation of commercial surrogacy, prenatal sex selection tends to be complicated. Some newspapers constantly publish articles about surrogacy networks (commercial surrogacy), sperm/egg/embryo trading that are being investigated and handled by the authorities in accordance with laws.
To ensure the strict observance of the law provisions in the field of reproductive support; preventing the trading of sperm, egg and embryos in medical examination and treatment establishments, commercial surrogacy or acts of abetting or participating in the above-mentioned illegal networks of medical staff, the Ministry of Health requests the Health Departments of provinces and cities; the Military Medical Department under the Ministry of National Defence; Health agencies of ministries and branches; Hospitals affiliated to the Ministry of Health to direct establishments that are permitted to perform in vitro fertilization (IVF) and altruistic surrogacy (AS) (hereinafter referred to as establishments) to carry out a number of the following contents:
1. Strengthening measures to prevent mistakes or swapping, trading of sperm/ovum/embryo:
- Reviewing, completing the process of preventing sperm/ovum/embryo mistake and disseminating it to all staff;
- The semen sample collecting procedure should include the content of control to ensure that the sperm sample is taken on the right person and at the hospitals, which prevents the exchange of semen samples brought in from outside;
- The Ministry of Health encourages establishments to invest and use software to manage cases of sperm/ovum/embryo donation or receipt, in vitro fertilization (IVF), altruistic surrogacy (AS). Patients and gametes are identified not only by personal papers but also by modern biometric identification techniques such as face photography, fingerprints, irises in order to prevent mistakes or exchanges due to the use of fake documents. Semen and blood samples should be stored for later comparisons;
- Developing a process for transporting and receiving sperm/ovum/embryo among hospitals and regularly checking to prevent swapping. During the process of embryo transfer/receipt, the embryo storage tank and attached documents must be handed over between two hospitals and feedback must be sent to guarantee that embryos are transferred to the right recipients, preventing document swapping or transferring embryos to others with the aim of surrogacy purposes.
2. Strengthening prevention of commercial surrogacy at hospitals that are recognized by the Ministry of Health to be eligible to perform altruistic surrogacy techniques:
- Indications for surrogacy must be carefully reviewed and signed by hospital leaders.
- Ensuring the kinship relationship between the surrogate mother and the intended parent, besides the paper confirmed by the Commune-level People’s Committee, hospitals may request the family for other related papers to serve the purpose of comparison.
- Encouraging establishments to sign contracts with law firms on legal consultancy, in which terms to bind responsibilities for legal consultancy must be fully included.
- Regularly checking, monitoring internally, ensuring that staff complies with regulations on preventing mistakes, swapping sperm/ovum/embryo. Establishments should issue regulations on strictly handling staff who violates regulations against mistakes or allows cases of mistake/swapping to occur, participates in or abets networks of sperm/ovum/embryo trading, surrogacy.
- Regularly training, updating staff of the units on professional regulations and laws in the field of reproductive support, especially the Decree No. 10/2015/ND-CP dated January 28, 2015, on giving birth through IVF and AS, the Decree No. 117/2020/ND-CP dated September 28, 2020, on sanctioning of administrative violations in the health sector. Seriously complying with provisions mentioned in the Official Dispatches No. 3067/BYT-BMTE dated June 3, 2019; No. 2640/BYT-BM-TE dated April 9, 2021, No. 4870/BYT-BMTE dated June 17, 2021 (attached herewith).
- Assuming the responsibility for closely coordinating with authorities to detect, prevent and handle cases of sperm/ovum/embryo trading, commercial surrogacy or other acts of abetting the above-mentioned illegal networks in accordance with laws.
Health Departments of provinces and cities; Hospitals affiliated to the Ministry of Health; Health agencies of ministries and branches; the Military Medical Department under the Ministry of National Defence are requested to increase inspection and supervision of the implementation of the law provisions on IVF and AS in their respective areas and units. In case of detecting signs of law violation, it is necessary to immediately report to the Ministry of Health (the Department of Maternal and Child Health, the Department of Legal Affairs) for settlement according to its competence.
P.P. THE MINISTER
ON BEHALF OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH DEPARTMENT
THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR
Dinh Anh Tuan
* All Appendices are not translated herein.