In vitro fertilization was prohibited in Costa Rica by the Constitutional Chamber, in 2000, since it interpreted that life begins from conception and that the medical technique allowed discarding or destroying living beings.
After a year and a half of operation, the High Complexity Reproductive Medicine Unit of the state-owned Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), has achieved 70 conceptions through in vitro fertilization, a technique reestablished in the country by order of the Chamber Constitutional.
The Government of Costa Rica reported that a total of 28 girls and 42 boys have been conceived with in vitro fertilization in facilities that provide the service free of charge to couples with infertility problems and who were unable to conceive in other ways.
“There are few countries in the world that have a public system for assisted fertility. Our model is in the highest standards that are global. This is a way to guarantee a right of those families who want to have sons and daughters, they can be supported and that it is not limited only to those who can pay for it”, said the country’s president, Carlos Alvarado, during a visit to the place.
The center also has a program in which the population with a cancer diagnosis can freeze their eggs or sperm, which due to surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiotherapy see their chances of conceiving diminished. This modality is carried out for free and individually, so it is not necessary to have a partner.
The option of donating gametes (eggs or sperm) is also available for couples who have no one to rely on to achieve fertilization. These donors go through the analysis process to preserve the samples and anonymously help couples or women with infertility problems.
In vitro fertilization was prohibited in Costa Rica by the Constitutional Chamber in 2000, since it interpreted that life begins from conception and that the medical technique allowed discarding or destroying living beings. This caused a group of couples with infertility to file a lawsuit before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court).
In 2014, the IA Court condemned the Costa Rican State and ordered it to restore the medical procedure, considering that it was violating principles of the right to private and family life, personal integrity in relation to personal autonomy, sexual health, to enjoy the benefits of scientific and technological progress and non-discrimination.
In vitro fertilization was reestablished in Costa Rica through a presidential decree in September 2015 and since then authorized private clinics have begun to perform the procedure. In March 2017, the first girl was born as a result of the medical technology in a private center.
To comply with the sentence of the IA Court, the Government built the state-run High Complexity Reproductive Medicine Unit of the CCSS, facilities valued at nearly US$8 million, equipped with high technology and personnel specialized in reproductive medicine.