Groundbreaking fertility treatment may soon be cleared for use in New Zealand.

Cabinet is expected to make a decision soon on whether to allow women wanting a baby to use donor eggs as well as donor sperm.

The Herald on Sunday understands the Government's Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ACART) has recommended approving the procedure to Health Minister Tony Ryall.

The procedure was put under the microscope in 2007 and draft guidelines were sent to the minister 18 months ago.

It would involve donated sperm being used to fertilise donated eggs in a laboratory before the resulting embryos are implanted in women.

Just over half of the submissions, by individuals and groups, were in favour of the new procedure, often with provisos.

The Catholic Church made a submission opposing the procedure on ethical and moral grounds.

The Nathaniel Centre, which speaks on behalf of New Zealand's Catholic bishops, said it contravened the right that married couples could become parents only through each other, without a third party.

Centre spokesman John Kleinsman said it would deprive a child of a close connection with their genetic parents. "We think it's a serious offence against the dignity of the child."

Kleinsman said yesterday if Cabinet approved the procedure, there would be little the church could do. The Anglican Church has not made a submission.

One in six Kiwi couples experience infertility. The medical director of Auckland District Health Board's Fertility Plus centre, Neil Johnson, said several clients hoped Cabinet would approve the procedure.

ACART acting chairman Professor Ken Daniels would not discuss its recommendation. A spokesman for Ryall said it was a complex issue and a decision would be made in "the short-term".

Daniels said, if approved, hopeful parents would still need formal ethical approval.

The practice of using donor eggs with donor sperm is lawful in some countries, including Australia, but not all had strict rules.

"Ours is designed to protect the interests of all the people involved," said Daniels.

According to an ACART consultation document, backers of the plan said it would benefit partners who are both infertile and single infertile women.

Critics said no one had the right to another person's eggs or sperm and the procedure would remove the creation of a child from the bonds of a committed relationship.

Possible guidelines contained in the consultation document included recipients not having donated sperm and eggs from people who are closely related and that offspring should know their genetic origins.