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Region Europe
Population 316,252
GDP (millions USD) 20,003
National Policies
Eggs for assisted reproduction permitted
Eggs for research permitted
Inheritable genetic modification PROHIBITED
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis social uses prohibited
Reproductive cloning PROHIBITED
Research cloning PROHIBITED
Sex selection ?
International Agreements
1997 COE Biomedicine Convention RATIFIED
1998 COE Cloning Convention RATIFIED
2005 UN Cloning Vote no
2005 UNESCO Sports Doping Convention RATIFIED
2007 Treaty of Lisbon not signed

Key laws and policies

  • Act on Artificial Fertilisation and Use of Human Gametes and Embryos for Stem-Cell Research, No. 55/1996

English version:

Prohibited practices

The Artificial Fertilisation Act prohibits:

  • Creating embryos solely for research purposes
  • Cloning
  • Transplanting human embryos into animals

In addition, Iceland's ratification of the Council of Europe's Convention on Biomedicine and the Additional Protocol Regarding Human Cloning commits it to prohibitions on:

  • PGD for social uses
  • Somatic genetic enhancement
  • Inheritable genetic modification


  • Surrogacy is defined as artificial fertilization performed on a woman who intends to carry a child for another woman, and has agreed before the pregnancy to give up the child immediately after the birth.

Any form of surrogacy is expressly prohibited by law (Act on Artificial Fertilisation and use of Human Gametes and Embryos for Stem-Cell Research, No. 55/1996, 5(4)).

Permitted and regulated practices

Assisted Reproduction

  • Article 4 of the Icelandic legislation provides that artificial fertilization may be carried out by artificial insemination or by in vitro fertilization.
  • Assisted reproductive technology services are available to married couples and couples in registered cohabitation.
  • The service is also available for female partners and single women.
  • There are no age requirements.
  • Article 3 of the Act provides that artificial fertilization may only be carried out if:
  • The written and witnessed consent of the woman has been given. If the woman is married or in cohabitation, the witnessed written consent of the other party must also have been given.
  • The child to be conceived by the procedure may be deemed to be ensured good conditions in which to grow up.
  • The woman is of natural child-bearing age and has the physical capability and sufficiently good health to cope with the strain of the treatment, pregnancy, and birth of the child. A factor to be taken into account is that the pregnancy and birth not be expected to entail damaging consequences for mother or child, on the basis of normal medical and obstetric standards.
  • The mental health and social circumstances of the couple or woman are good.
  • There are no nationality or residency requirements.
  • Only licensed physicians may perform ART.

Egg, Sperm, and Embryo Donation

  • Egg donation and sperm donation are permitted.
  • Note: Article 5 of the legislation provides that artificial fertilization with donor gametes may only be carried out if:
    • fertility is impaired;
    • in the case of a serious hereditary disease; or
    • if other medical reasons indicate use of donor gametes.

Access to Information

  • The anonymity of gamete donors is optional.
  • Article 4 of the ART Act: The physician providing treatment shall choose a suitable donor.
  • Should a donor request anonymity, health workers must ensure that this wish be respected. In such cases information may not be provided to the donor on the couple receiving donor gametes, nor about the child, nor may the couple or the child receive information on the donor. Should the donor not request anonymity, the institution shall keep information on the donor in a special file.
  • Should the donation of gametes result in the birth of a child, data on the child and on the couple who received the donated gametes shall be kept in the same file.
  • A child conceived as a result of a donation of gametes, where the donor did not request anonymity, may at the age of 18 request access to the records under paragraph 3, in order to acquire information on the name of the donor. Should a child receive information on the gamete donor from the institution, the institution shall, as soon as possible, inform the donor that the information has been provided.

Embryo Storage

  • Article 9: Embryos may be stored for the purpose of transplanting them into the woman who provided the ova (or received them as a gift for use in in vitro fertilization).
  • The storage of embryos for other purposes is prohibited.

Embryo Research

Article 11:

  • With informed consent of gamete donors, a licensed health institute may, perform research, experiments and procedures on embryos which have been created by in vitro treatment, and are a part of that, or have been created in order to diagnose hereditary diseases in the embryos themselves. The same applies to research which aims to advance treatment for infertility, or to enhance understanding of the causes of congenital diseases and miscarriages.

Article 12:

  • Excess human embryos may be used to create stem cell lines provided a licence for such activities has been granted.

Article 14:

  • It is prohibited to:
    • Cultivate or produce embryos solely for research purposes
    • Cultivate embryos for more than 14 days outside the body or once the primitive streak has appeared
    • Transplant human embryos into animals
    • Perform nuclear transfer for reproductive purposes (cloning)