By Andrea Rodrigo BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 02/17/2016

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a fertility treatment that involves the manipulation of female and male reproductive cells (i.e. eggs and sperm) and fuse them together in the laboratory with the purpose of creating viable embryos.

Once obtained, highest quality embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus, pending embryo implantation and, therefore, pregnancy.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

Possible combinations with donated gametes

Ideally, every couple wishes to use their reproductive cells to have a baby. But unfortunately, this is not always possible. That is when donor conception may become the solution toward parenthood, in which case the following combinations can be found:

  • Own eggs with donor sperm
  • Donor eggs and own sperm
  • Both donor eggs and donor sperm

Characteristics of donor conception

As it happens with egg and sperm donation, double-donor IVF is allowed in Spain as long as Spanish Law regarding Assisted Human Reproduction Techniques (henceforth, LAHRT) is obeyed. The following are its main provisions:

  • Donors must remain anonymous and act altruistically.
  • Donors must be in good health and aged between 18 and 35 years old in the case of egg donors.
  • Donors must pass a medical and psychological screening.
  • The clinic is responsible for matching donors and recipients according to their physical and immunological features.
  • Donors can get an economic compensation, as established by the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality.

When may double-donor IVF be necessary?

Using both donor eggs and donor sperm may be required in casa there exist any problem related to gamete production in both partners. It is also indicated for single women and lesbian couples whenever problems with their own eggs are detected.

Semen alterations (low quantity and/or poor quality), along with menstrual alterations or problems related to low egg quantity and quality (advanced maternal age, endometriosis, impaired ovarian reserve…) are the main reasons as to why many couples turn to double-donor IVF to realize their dream of getting pregnant.

The presence of genetic abnormalities in reproductive cells may be the reason why many people resorts to donor conception as well, not because they suffer from infertility, but to prevent the transmission of any genetic disorder to offspring.

Finally, double-donor IVF is also indicated for couples who have already experienced previous IVF failure due to implantation failure or recurrent pregnancy loss for no apparent reason.

Outcomes of double-donor IVF

Both egg donors and sperm donors are young and healthy people, free from genetic alterations and family history of severe diseases, who have gone through a thorough medical screening prior to being accepted as donors. For this reason, success rates of double-donor IVF are higher if compared to other assisted reproduction techniques in which own reproductive cells are used.

In spite of the increase in pregnancy success rates when egg and/or sperm donation is used, not everybody is keen on giving up on their own genetic code to have a baby.

Coming to terms with the idea that the unborn child will share neither the genetic material of the intended mother nor that of the intended father may turn out to be a difficult process. In fact, many couples may seek psychological support to confront and cope with the fact that you need a fertility treatment.

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Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information
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One comment

    1. Loving Parent

      I think saying “no” to your genetic material is super hard, the worst decision to make in life… We, as humans, have been created to have our own children, that’s why they are often called “offspring”. If we have to say “no” to it, then what’s the point of having a baby? I would feel as if he or she was a kid I just found the streets.