Conditions of general application for assisted reproduction techniques

Spain has one of the best regulated and open laws on assisted reproduction in the whole of Europe. Law 14/2006 on Assisted Human Reproduction techniques allows access to these techniques to every woman from the age of 18 regardless of marital status or sexual orientation. This means that in Spain we can apply the techniques to single or homosexual women wishing to access and exercise their right to motherhood.

Obviously there must be a conscious, free and express consent prior to the application of the technique. For women who have a partner, the latter must also consent to the application of the technique.

As for the upper age limit for applying the techniques, the law does not set a specific limit but only warns that the reproductive treatments should only be performed as long as the recipient meets the medical requirements to gestate. However, most ethics committees in Spain set the maximum age at 50 years. At EUGIN Clinic, we follow these recommendations and apply them in our protocols.

Donation of gametes

Gamete donation in Spain is regulated by Royal Decree 412/1996, as well as Royal Decree-Law 1301/2006 regulating organ donation in general and by Law 14/2006 on Assisted Reproduction.

By law, the donation is deemed to be voluntary, anonymous and altruistic. The donation contract, in turn, is based on the principles of gratuitousness, intention and confidentiality.

However, compensation to the donors for any inconvenience caused is also provided by the law.

Egg donors must be between 18 and 35 years (sperm donors between 18 and 50 years) and have good physical and psychological health.

Regarding the process of study and selection of donors, there are a number of mandatory complementary tests (see paragraph on donation treatments). At Eugin, more tests and checks are carried out than what the law stipulates as compulsory, so for every 3 women who come to the clinic to be donors, just 1 will eventually make the donation.

The law also limits to 6 the maximum number of children born from the same donor in Spain as a whole and specifically in Catalonia, it is recommended that the maximum recommended number of cycles that a donor should perform be limited to six.

Egg or sperm recipients should note that in the application of the techniques, the choice of donor belongs to the assisted reproduction centre and it will be done by respecting to the utmost the phenotypic and immunological characteristics between donor and recipient. The law does not allow for the choosing of the male/female donor by the recipient of the gametes.

European legislation compared

The European landscape regarding the application of assisted reproduction techniques is very diverse. It is largely determined by the legal framework, or even the lack of regulation in some countries. Below, we have set out a comparison chart of some European countries with regard to the different conditions of access to ART.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is a technique to genetically analyse the embryo prior to embryo transfer. The centre which performs the technique must be duly authorized.

In Spain, the law of assisted reproduction includes pre-implantation genetic diagnosis in the following medical situations:

  • Detection of serious hereditary diseases, of early onset, and not amenable to treatment.
  • Detection of other alterations that may compromise the viability of the pre-embryo.
  • With other purposes, which in the above cases, such as for example in determining histocompatibility antigens of the pre-embryos in vitro for therapeutic purposes for third parties. In these special cases, it will require the express authorization, case by case, of the National Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction.

The PGD is thus a real possibility in Spain as long as the indication is purely medical. The application of this technique with the sole purpose of selecting the sex of the embryo is not covered by the Spanish legislation.


Purpose of frozen embryos

In Spain, the purpose of the frozen embryos from an IVF cycle are the following:

  • Option A: Own use by the woman or the couple.
  • Option B: Donation to other couples for reproductive purposes.
  • Option C: Donation for research.
  • Option D: Destruction of embryos with no other purpose.

In any of the cases, the embryos should be assigned to the option chosen by the patients. In the case of the destruction of frozen embryos, it can only be performed in certain circumstances (the woman’s state of health that prevents her from gestating, at the end of her reproductive life, etc..).

Last Updated: November 2017