Legislation in Spain and Europe on Assisted Reproduction

The current Spanish legislation, LAW 14/2006 of 26 May, on human assisted reproduction techniques, contemplates the absolute anonymity of gamete donors, in such a way that their identity may never be revealed. The donation is considered an altruistic act

Any woman over 18 years old and in full capacity to act can receive or use Assisted Reproduction Techniques regulated by law, independently of her marital status and her sexual orientation. Therefore, single women, married heterosexual and homosexual couples, and legally registered heterosexual partners qualify for assisted reproduction. More importantly, Law 14/2006 provides for reproduction techniques to be used not only to treat fertility problems, but also for reproductive life planning (e.g. choosing single parenting, postponing motherhood with the patient’s own gametes by means of oocyte cryopreservation techniques, and so on).

Download here the complete text of Law 14/2006 (in Spanish) (the link is extracted from this section)

Current Spanish Legislation allows reproduction treatments that are prohibited in many other countries. The most important ones are listed below:

European legislation on the field of assisted reproduction

Treatments for single women

Sperm donation

Egg donation

Donor confidentiality

Preimplantation diagnosis

Embryo adoption

Postmortem fertilization

Sex selection

FRANCE No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
GERMANY No Yes No No No No No No
ITALY No No No No No No No Yes*
UNITED KINGDOM No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes*
SPAIN Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes*

*Only for cases of gender related hereditary disease.

Regarding the qualifying conditions to receive or use the techniques, legislation only requires, in addition to being over 18 years old, a reasonable chance of success for the proposed treatment, no serious risks having been identified for the patient’s physical or psychical health or her potential offspring’s, and obtaining the patient’s free and informed acceptance, which she must grant by signing an informed consent.

It must be clearly stated that surrogate pregnancy is strictly forbidden by Spanish law, since motherhood is conferred to the woman who carries the pregnancy.

Regarding those techniques regulated by law, unlike legislation in other countries, which is more restrictive, treatments using donated gametes (both sperm and eggs) stand out. In this respect, two fundamental aspects must be highlighted: first, donation is confidential and therefore born children and recipients have the right to receive general information about their donors provided that donor identity is not disclosed; secondly, donor selection can only be conducted by the medical team applying the technique. Donors cannot be personally selected by the recepient under any circumstances, even though at Bernabéu Institute we try our best to find the best possible match.

Today, while it is not covered in the legal provisions in force, it is possible to use the technique known as ROPA (Reception of Oocytes from Partner), which makes it possible for two women who are married to take part in the treatment and become parents. One of them provides oocytes that are subsequently inseminated with the sperm of an anonymous donor. The other receives the embryos and becomes pregnant. After consenting to the treatment, one becomes a genetic mother and the other a birth mother. To these effects, two-mother families have been legally recognized in Spain since 2007 under the provision that the two mothers are married. As a consequence, babies who are born using a ROPA treatment can be legally registered in Spain as having two mothers.

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