Infertility Treatment in Iran Invaded by Illegal Brokers

There are 3 million infertile couples in Iran and the figure is increasing by 15% each year.There are 3 million infertile couples in Iran and the figure is increasing by 15% each year.

Egg donation for assisted reproduction treatment, particularly in IVF (in vitro fertilization) technology, has become a big business in the country for brokers in the field.

While the Health Ministry has developed different programs to provide direct third-party assisted reproductive treatments to infertile couples, many are not adequately informed and turn to egg brokers for infertility treatment.

The brokers' are illegal as they are not approved by the ministry. They recruit egg donors and unlike licensed infertility clinics disregard rules on how many times a woman can donate her eggs, IRNA reported.

As egg donation requires strong medication (the donor is taught to give herself daily injections of medications and fertility drugs for three to five weeks) and going under an invasive procedure to retrieve the eggs, donors shouldn’t give eggs more than a few times (three to six times maximum).  

This is while illegal brokers take advantage of donors' ignorance and make them donate eggs at least 10 to 15 times. While the donor receives $385 (15 million rials) per donation cycle, the money paid to brokers has been reported to be as high as $2,560 (100 million rials).

Although third party assisted reproduction methods like egg donation and surrogacy are allowed in the country, there is no law yet to protect donors and recipients. Therefore brokers continue their activities with impunity.

Infertility Rate

Currently, there are 3 million infertile couples in the country and the figure is increasing by 15% each year.

Last year, the Health Ministry announced that 17 infertility treatment centers would be established in different provinces including Kohgiluyeh and Buyer Ahmad, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Lorestan, Golestan, Hormozgan, and Sistan-Baluchestan, to provide quality services to people living in disadvantaged areas.  

In August this year, $27 million (1,050 billion rials) was allocated by the ministry to provide financial aid to infertile couples. "However, the budget cannot cover the entire cost of treatment for all the 3 million infertile couples," said Mohammad Eslami, head of the ministry's Population and Reproductive Health Office. "The budget required to provide infertility treatment services (medications and surgical procedures) to all infertile couples is estimated at $1.5 billion (60,000 billion rials)."

According to official reports, around 40% of infertility is due to male problems, 40% due to female problems, and 15% of the cases are due to problems in both; the causes for the remaining 5% are unknown.

One of the five leading causes of divorce is said to be infertility in one of the spouses.

Figures released by the National Organization for Civil Registration show that since the beginning of the current year (started in March), 1.1 million births  (as against 1.5 million during the same period in the previous year) were registered, of which 77% were in urban areas and 23% in rural areas.

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