Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Portugal: “Medicine Baby” Authorized

(May 7, 2015) The National Council for Medically Assisted Procreation (Conselho Nacional de Procriação Medicamente Assistida) of Portugal for the first time authorized a couple whose five-year-old daughter suffers from leukemia to have a baby, selected from laboratory-generated embryos, who would be able to be a bone marrow donor compatible with his or her older sister. (Catarina Gomes, Autorizado Primeiro “Bebé-Medicamento”em Portugal, PÚBLICO (Apr. 30, 2015).)

It has yet to be confirmed whether the recent transfer of the embryos resulted in a “medicine baby” pregnancy, the euphemistic term for a baby being generated to help in the treatment of a sick sibling. (Id.)

The Portuguese law on medically assisted procreation only authorizes this procedure in exceptional situations, such as when it is very important to obtain a compatible HLA (human leukocyte antigen) group for the purpose of treating a severe disease. (Lei No. 32/2006, de 26 de Julho 2006, art. 7(3), Procuradoria-Geral Distrital de Lisboa website.)