A powerful task force of scientists and clinicians specialising in assisted conception have mounted a major campaign to close gaps in knowledge about cross border reproduction in the Asia Pacific region.

Each year thousands of infertile couples travel the world for third party reproduction in the quest to achieve their dream of parenthood.

The Asia Pacific region in particular has been a booming market for procedures such as sperm, egg and embryo donation and gestational carriage, or surrogacy.

However, the extent of this activity is not fully understood and there are concerns about the quality and safety for all stakeholders, including children born from these assisted reproductive procedures.

The 9th Congress of the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE 2019) in Hong Kong this week progressed an initiative to gather vital information on cross border reproductive care in the region, and implement a framework of consistent guidelines and standards of care.

Dr Clare Boothroyd, one of Australia’s leading fertility specialists and Vice-President of ASPIRE, said the survey would be far reaching to engage with donors, recipients, brokers, providers of infertility services, governments and community groups.

Many couples seeking cross border reproduction through treatments such as oocyte donation or gestational carriage have to travel across a minefield of varying legal and regulatory controls in different destinations.

Unmarried couples experiencing infertility, and same sex couples wanting to have a baby, face even more challenging barriers to treatment in many countries.

“Many people throughout the world are willing to travel to access assisted reproductive procedures that may be prohibited, restricted or too costly in their own countries, or there may be an unavailability of services when they live,” Dr Boothroyd said.

“We have formed the working party to get the information we need on this activity throughout the Asia Pacific region with a clear commitment to enhance the quality and consistency of care within clear ethical and equitable guidelines,” she said.

“Our concerns currently include issues of infection control, rights and legal protection for all parties, levels of fertility counselling, aspects of commerciality and traceability.”

ASPIRE membership includes scientists, clinicians, embryologists, nurses and infertility counsellors in more than 20 countries who are committed to promote awareness of infertility and to improve access to quality assisted reproductive technologies.

“The ASPIRE Congress at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre has been the ideal platform to promote the initiative to close the information gap on cross border reproductive care, and to set in motion the standards that are necessary for the well-being of all parties, especially children born from assisted conception,” Dr Boothroyd said.

She said the objective was to help people experiencing infertility to make more informed decisions about accessing services that may result in the healthy children they so desire.

The ASPIRE 2019 Congress attracted around 1,700 delegates from 50 countries to address latest scientific and clinical advances in assisted reproduction.

To arrange an interview with Dr Clare Boothroyd, please contact Trevor Gill, ASPIRE 2019 Congress Media Relations, on 0418 821948 or by e-mail at lighthousepr@adelaide.on.net

NOTE: ASPIRE member countries include:

Australia: Austria: Bangladesh: China: Hong Kong: India: Indonesia: Japan: Korea:
Malaysia: Myanmar: Nepal: New Zealand: Pakistan: Philippines: Singapore: Sweden: Taiwan: Thailand: United States of America: Vietnam: