Romanian authorities have detained two Israelis and a Romanian who are suspected of trafficking in human eggs for foreign couples who patronized their Bucharest-based fertility clinic.
According to DIICOT, the country’s department for fighting organized crime, the group was focusing on identifying foreign couples eager to resort to reproduction technology and on "grabbing" Romanian women aged 18-30 to donate ova for $270 to $335.
DIICOT detained for 24 hours Harry Mironescu, gynecologist and de facto head of the clinic, as well as his son Yair Miron and Borzea Cecilia, a Romanian employee. A criminal investigation was opened against them.
On Monday prosecutors said 22 other people in the same organization were under investigation, Reuters reports.
The clinic had carried out about 1,200 in vitro fertilization procedures since it opened in 1999. Its main customers were Israeli, Italian and British couples.
According to Reuters, Vasile Astarastoaie, head of Romania's medical watchdog Colegiul Medicilor, said the procedures were illegal because the clinic was not authorized to carry them out.
IVF procedures are used by some couples who cannot conceive normally. Human eggs are fertilized outside the body and placed in a woman’s uterus. Sometimes other donors are required to provide fertile eggs.
The donation process can be hazardous for the donor, whose risks include moderate to serious ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS can result in maladies ranging from bloating and nausea to infertility, organ failure and death.
Catholic thought holds IVF to be unethical. Dignitas Personae (On the Dignity of the Person), a December 2008 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says that all IVF techniques divide human procreation from the conjugal act and "proceed as if the human embryo were simply a mass of cells to be used, selected and discarded."