Akel has criticized egg donation companies operating in Cyprus for their practices in which young women are “compensated” up to €1,000 for their eggs.
One of the companies in question, however, said it was surprised at the misinformation as the legal framework is transparent and publicly available.
The main criticism was tabled by Akel MP Eleni Mavrou, who told the Cyprus Mail on Tuesday that “one of many concerns is that it may be taking advantage of women and disturbing is that many of them are disturbing. the authorities did not know such a practice was occurring.”
The issue was raised by Mavrou and fellow party member Skevi Koukouma at the House Human Rights Committee on Monday.
Mavrou said the businesses claim that women are donating their eggs for free, only receiving the money for their time and effort – not the egg itself.
The MPs noted that the practice has been ongoing for a few years and said advertisement leaflets had been distributed at universities.
Asked whether or not women should have the right to choose what they do with their eggs, Mavrou said: “Unfortunately there is limited information available, and at the moment there are more questions than answers.”
She said women are free to donate their eggs, but “the commercialization of sperm, eggs or organs is forbidden by law.”
Additional concerns raised by the MPs were which, if any, oversight is regulating the businesses and whether it is carried out safely.
Cryos International, one of the companies offering egg donation services, said the practice is open and transparent.
“Unfortunately, the right information is not being passed on to the public because now this will cause a lot of worry for potential patients and donors,” director of European Operations at the company Saghar Kasiri told the Cyprus Mail on Tuesday.
“In a way, it is a discredit to our ministry of health because they are the ones that license and regulate the IVF clinics and tissue labs such as ours,” she said.
In the two years of operation, there have been about twenty donors. Kasiri said this is mainly due to a lengthy screening process to make sure donors are healthy and receive support if necessary.
“It’s not something like you just walk in and say you want to donate your egg and we say okay.”
She explained that they operate entirely within the legal framework as provided by the medically assisted reproduction and human tissue laws in Cyprus.
“We are licensed here, by the ministry of health, and the ministry regulates all our activities,” Kasiri said.
Akel’s Koukouma, however, said that her party’s concerns were also shared by the Medically Assisted Reproduction Council and the Bioethics Committee.
On Cryos International’s Cyprus website, the company says the practice is generally safe and has no impact on the future potential fertility of the egg donor.
It states: “As an egg donor at Cryos, your donation should be given for altruistic reasons, though you will receive compensation for your time, inconvenience, and physical commitment during the process.”
Those partaking in practice receive up to €1,000.
The company says that an egg donor in Cyprus can only donate eggs to one family on the island, with future donations abroad. This is done to reduce the risk of consanguinity.