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On the heels of evolving medical technologies and societal needs, the UAE has introduced significant amendments to its Federal Law No. 7 of 2019 concerning medical assistance for reproduction. These changes, encapsulated in Federal Decree-Law No. 17 of 2023, bring a range of updates aimed at enhancing the regulatory framework and ensuring the practices remain ethically sound and legally compliant. Here’s a closer look at these key amendments.

UAE Federal Law on Medical Assistance

UAE Federal Law on Medical Assistance

Scope and Application

Article 2 of the amended law broadens the scope, explicitly stating that the provisions apply to all centers within the UAE, including those in free zones. Additionally, it allows individual Emirates to regulate medical assistance for reproduction through local legislation, provided it aligns with the federal law where no local provisions exist.

Defining Reproductive Techniques

Article 7 empowers the Minister of Health, in coordination with local health authorities, to define the techniques for medical assistance in reproduction. It also permits local health authorities to introduce new techniques, emphasizing that these procedures must only be conducted in licensed centers.

Conditions and Regulations

Article 8 outlines stringent conditions and regulations for centers practicing reproductive techniques, including:

1- Ensuring the technique is medically the most appropriate method after natural conception attempts have failed.

2- Requiring official documentation proving the continuation of the marital relationship.

3- Obtaining written consent from both spouses at the center.

4- Ensuring no significant health risks to the wife or fetus.

5- Conducting procedures by licensed physicians.

6- Providing detailed explanations to the couple about the technique, potential complications, and costs.

7- Ensuring fertilization and implantation occur in the presence of both spouses.

Preservation and Use of Eggs

Article 10 introduces regulations on the preservation and use of fertilized eggs, including:

  1. Permitting the fertilization of a sufficient number of eggs for multiple implantations.
  2. Allowing the preservation of fertilized eggs for up to five years, extendable upon written request by the couple.
  3. Mandating centers to prevent any mix-up or misuse of eggs.
  4. Requiring the natural disposal of unused fertilized eggs unless requested otherwise by the couple.

Prohibited Practices

Article 9 and Article 14 specify prohibitions, including:

Article 9: Prohibiting the fertilization of an egg from one woman with sperm from a man other than her husband, and vice versa.

Article 14: Banning the commercial use, non-therapeutic genetic modification, or unauthorized research on fertilized or unfertilized eggs and frozen sperm.

UAE Federal Law on Medical Assistance

UAE Federal Law on Medical Assistance

Ethical Disposal and Record-keeping

Articles 12 and 13 address the ethical disposal and record-keeping of eggs and sperm:

Article 13 mandates the destruction of fertilized eggs in cases such as the death of a spouse, divorce, or a specific request by the couple.

The disposal of unfertilized eggs and frozen sperm must also occur under similar conditions.

Compliance and Enforcement

Article 16 highlights the obligations of professionals working in these centers, emphasizing adherence to scientific and professional standards and maintaining confidentiality of patient information.

Article 22 designates certain employees as judicial officers, authorized to monitor and report any violations of the law and its regulations.


The amendments introduced by Federal Decree-Law No. 17 of 2023 mark a significant step in updating and refining the legal framework governing medical assistance for reproduction in the UAE. These changes aim to ensure ethical practices, enhance patient safety, and provide clear guidelines for the use and management of reproductive technologies. As the medical field continues to advance, these updates will help maintain the integrity and effectiveness of reproductive assistance practices in the UAE.

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