Safeguards needed for egg donation

I read Monday's commentary ("Egg donors: Payment ban can create a black and a grey market") with great interest.

To ensure greater transparency and to avoid potential conflict of interest, the best safeguard would be to prohibit both doctors and patients from soliciting egg donation.

Instead, an independent government agency should be established to perform this function, as well as to oversee the welfare of both patients and donors.

Donor anonymity can thus be maintained by such an agency, unlike the current situation where patients are usually required to find their own egg donor.

Another safeguard would be to prohibit foreign women on tourist visas and short-term social visit passes from donating their eggs in Singapore.

Egg donation should be restricted to Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and foreigners with valid long-term student and employment visas, in view of the fact that blood screening for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases is required for the egg donation process, and that there is a required incubation period of several months for these diseases to manifest in blood tests.

Perhaps an exception should be made for patients who desire to maintain a genetic link to the child, by soliciting egg donation from their own blood relatives who might reside abroad.

In this case, DNA testing should be performed to verify the genetic relationship between the prospective donor and recipient patient.

Additional counselling should then be provided with regard to the absence of donor anonymity and its potential adverse effects on the psychological well-being of all parties concerned, including the conceived child.

Yap Kim Hong (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2016, with the headline 'Safeguards needed for egg donation'. Print Edition | Subscribe