In Kazakhstan, great emphasis is placed on developing medical tourism, both international and domestic. Basically, the flow of foreign patients is observed. At the same time, Kazakhstan’s reproductive care arouses great interest among foreigners arriving from the world’s leading countries.
The cost of these procedures is more affordable than in many other countries, and the quality of services is not inferior to the international leaders. For the past 27 years in Kazakhstan, citizens of 49 states have been receiving IVF treatments, and the frequency of use of ART by non-residents of the country is approximately 10%.
We have asked the experts of a group of IVF clinics, Ecomed, with whom Redia IVF partners, to share the highlight aspects of the assisted reproduction system in Kazakhstan.
In recent decades, the world has accumulated vast experience in treating various forms of infertility. Most of the existing methods have been successfully implemented in Kazakhstan.
For 27 years, the country has mastered the latest reproductive technologies to treat both female and male infertility. Cryopreservation of embryos, programmes with donor gametes, and surrogate motherhood are successfully used. Since 2007, Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGT) of hereditary diseases in embryos has been carried out. Assisted reproductive technologies are widely used as the only effective method for treating severe forms of male infertility. In 2014, microsurgery for obtaining sperm in severe forms of male infertility was introduced for the first time in Central Asia. Along with this, a method of cryopreservation of ovarian tissue has been submitted, which allows women with cancer to have children after surgical and radiation treatment.
In particular, the main legal acts in Kazakhstan in the organization and conduct of ART are the following:
– Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan No. 360-VI of July 7, 2020, “On Public Health and Health Care System” (as amended and supplemented as of 07.03.2022);
– Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Marriage (Marriage) and Family” dated December 26, 2011, № 518-IV.
– Order of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan of December 15, 2020, No. ҚР DSМ-272/2020 On approval of rules and conditions of assisted reproductive methods and technologies;
– Order of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan of December 8 2020, No. KP DCM-236/2020 ‘On Approval of the Rules and Conditions for the Donation of Germ Cells, Tissues of Reproductive Organs’.
In the norms of Kazakh legislation, citizens of the country and citizens of other countries have the right to carry out assisted reproductive technology. Thus, all assisted reproductive technologies such as sperm injection into the oocyte cytoplasm, sperm selection methods, cryopreservation and storage of germ cells, embryos and reproductive tissue, surrogacy, embryo and germ cell donation, thawing and transfer of cryopreserved embryos, and pre-implantation genetic testing are allowed in Kazakhstan.
For men suffering from infertility, the possibility of choosing the best method of obtaining sperm in severe forms of spermatogenesis disorder is provided. Moreover, in the case of death, the legislator has also offered post-mortem sperm retrieval.
A married woman and a man, with informed, voluntary, written mutual consent, receive infertility treatment in healthcare organisations, by safe and effective methods, including the use of ART, with full and complete information about their effectiveness, the optimal time of application, possible complications, medical and legal consequences and other information concerning their impact on the body. A woman and a man who are not married have the right to infertility treatment using ART (except surrogacy), with a legal responsibility to the child. When a woman and a man, whether married or unmarried, are treated together, the sperm of the sexual partner is not cryopreserved by their consent.
Unmarried women receive infertility treatment at healthcare centres using safe and effective methods, including ART (except surrogacy). They are given full and complete information about its effectiveness, optimum application period, possible complications, medical and legal consequences and other information on its effects on the body.
At the same time, there are restrictions on the performance of the ART procedure for specific categories of citizens.
Citizens of Kazakhstan aged between 18 and 35 who are physically and mentally healthy and have undergone medical genetic examination have the right to donate germ cells and tissue from reproductive organs.
Furthermore, current legislation does not permit the import and export by natural persons of samples of human biological materials, whether for medical treatment or commercial or scientific experimental purposes. In December 2021, the legislator granted only specialised legal entities the right to import and export human biological materials for therapeutic purposes.
In this way, infertility treatment in Kazakhstan makes it possible for all infertility patients to receive the necessary effective care comparatively low, making it an attractive option for medical tourism.
Ecomed Clinic is the first IVF laboratory in Kazakhstan and was founded on April 8, 1995. The founder and Scientific Director of the network of clinics “Ekomed” is Baikoshkarova Saltanat Berdenovna, a reproductive embryologist, the author of the first Kazakh baby “from a test tube”, a Doctor of Biological Sciences, a member of the National Commission for Women and Family and Demographic Policy under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan