The main reasons why sperm donation becomes necessary are:
- Absence of a male partner (single women and lesbian couples)
- Genetic abnormalities likely to be transmitted to offspring
- Poor-quality sperm
- Zero sperm count
Medically assisted human reproduction and, therefore, gamete donation—i.e. egg donation and sperm donation—are regulated in accordance to Greek Law 3305/2005. There, specific provisions regarding how sperm donation must work in Greece can be found.
According to Law 3305/2005, sperm donors must remain a completely anonymous. For this reason, neither donors nor recipients are allowed to meet each other, which is to say, the identity of the man who donated his sperm for the prospective parents reproductive cycle remains anonymous. Donor-conceived children won’t be revealed the identity of the man who delivered half his genetic material to him, not the other way around.
Information on medical aspects relative to the sperm donor is confidential and remains stored as coded data in the sperm bank or fertility clinic and the central national register of donors, in as established by the National Authority for Assisted Reproduction. However, recipients do have access to non-identifiable information about the donor, such as weight, height, educational level, hobbies, skin, eye or hair color…
Access to this coded data is only granted to the donor-conceived individual, as long as it is justified by reasons connected with the health of the child.
Altruism is another defining factor of sperm donation in Greece. Law 3305/2005 forbids any type of commercial activity related to the purchase or sale of semen samples. It is only allowed that receiving couples pay the donor for expenses derived from donating their sperm, such as:
- Screening of the potential donor
- Analysis of the semen sample
- Economic compensation to the donor
- Cryopreservation and storage of the semen sample
Sperm donors must be under 40 years old and not having surpassed the limit on how many children a donor may give rise to. In this sense, Greek law sets this limit at 10 live births from different families per donor. According to this, if two donor-conceived children are born from the same woman, it won’t count as two live births.
For candidates to qualify as sperm donors, they must go firstly through a series of medical and psychological evaluations. Besides, semen samples must present an exceptional quality.
Main tests for donors are as follows:
- Semen analysis or seminogram: sperm parameters such as sperm volume, sperm concentration, sperm motility, sperm morphology, semen pH… Besides, it is subjected to a microbiological culture and analyzed in order to check its post-thaw survival rate.
- STD testing: HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis…
- Genetic testing: blood group, Rh factor, karyotype, cystic fibrosis, thalassemia…
All semen samples will be frozen and then defrosted for being used after 6 months from the screening, as long as its results are negative in relation to infectious diseases.
In addition, donors must undergo a psychological screening as well, which will determine how prepared are they as to go through the entire sperm donation process.