Since this Friday, Cuba has a rule that regulates human reproduction, an old recommendation from the Pan American Health Organization, which suggested at least two years ago that aspects that were previously only working within the framework of the National Program for the Care of Infertile Couples be legally developed.
The resolution, published in the Official Gazette on October 28, establishes the rules for carrying out treatments, procedures and techniques in order to promote human conception and carry the pregnancy to term. In addition, it includes a specific section for solidarity gestation, recently authorized by the approval of the Family Code and that its detractors call surrogacy.
Solidarity gestation will be only for women with problems to gestate, male homosexual couples and single men
In this sense, it is specified that solidarity pregnancy will only be for women with pregnancy problems, male homosexual couples and single men. As previously noted, a court must judicially authorize this option after the information is forwarded to it by the medical staff.
The norm does not specify, once again, if it is necessary that those who avail themselves of the technique must be Cuban citizens or not, or that foreigners will be allowed to have access to this option, which could insert Cuba – taking advantage of the already obvious legal vacuum – in the list of countries in which this industry operates.
In any case, the regulations contemplate the disqualification for doctors who skip the prohibition of carrying out the technique without the aforementioned judicial authorization.
With regard to assisted reproduction in general, the resolution sets an age criterion, which is established at a minimum of 20 years for men and women, and a maximum of 55 and 45, respectively. It is possible to go beyond these limits provided that a specialized commission allows it and it will be necessary that there is a free and informed consent of the interveners, as well as the reasoned and scientific assessment of the hospital team responsible for the technique.
Another section of interest is related to the donation of genetic material, donation according to the text. In this regard, it is important to highlight that when gametes are supplied, the decision must be made whether or not to remain anonymous, in addition to accepting or rejecting possible multiparenthood. The Family Code provides that there may be several fathers or mothers for a minor, a situation that must be determined based on the genetic link or the existence of an emotional and stable link and that gives rise to rights and obligations with respect to the child.
The donor, says the regulation, must be between 20 and 34 years old and conception must be limited to two births per individual.
The text also addresses other more technical issues such as the conservation of gametes and embryos, their uses and the limitations that exist with respect to them, especially when referring to research. It also covers sanctions for those who violate the rules in matters that can range from improper manipulation of genetic material to receiving payments or financial compensation in any of the assisted reproduction processes.
The donor, says the regulation, must be between 20 and 34 years old and conception must be limited to two births per individual
In a country with a very aging population, such as Cuba, the development of assisted reproduction is considered very slow. The majority of infertile women who have chosen to undergo one of these techniques – fertilization in vitroartificial insemination or egg donation – have denounced the slowness of the processes in addition to the lack of medications aimed at the hormonal stimulation required in these processes.
“I have been treated in Havana at the González Coro hospital since 2001, 21 years ago, I was 23 years old when that happened. Now 45 years old, after all, I am waiting for in vitro and the answer is that I have to be aware of when the medicines come in,” explained a user in the official press.
“I am in the assisted reproduction clinic in Holguín, I have been waiting for more than a year for medication for the treatment in vitro and they don’t answer. The idea is very good, but in practice there are couples who have been waiting for more than 7 years and nothing. Years go by and many couples lose hope because of the delay,” adds another.
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