Choosing a sperm donor in Spain

By (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 02/25/2016

One of the main characteristics of gamete donation—eggs and sperm—in Spain is that donors must remain anonymous. Spanish Law regarding Assisted Human Reproduction Techniques (henceforth, LAHRT) places particular emphasis on the fact that the confidentiality of the donor's personal data must be guaranteed.

For this reason, both the selection of a donor and the donor-recipient match are in the hands of the sperm bank or fertility clinic where the fertility treatment is going to be held.

When matching a donor to a recipient, the most important thing to do is to try to find as many similarities as possible between their physical and immunological characteristics.

Information about the sperm donor

As stated earlier, preserving the confidentiality of the donor's identifiable information is a must; therefore, by no means will patients be allowed to choose the donor by themselves or indicate their preferences.

The only piece of information about the donor recipients and donor-conceived individuals can have access to is that making reference to general data such as blood type, Rh factor, or age.

Only in very exceptional circumstances in which the unborn child's health or life is at stake or if appropriate in accordance with laws on criminal procedure, donor identity disclosure will be allowed, although in a restricted manner and without getting the word out.

Requirements for sperm donation

The inclusion of a prospective donor within the sperm donor database will be done by the fertility clinic or sperm bank. To this end, donors must meet the following criteria:

  • Being of legal age
  • Being physically and mentally healthy, hence a thorough medical screening is required—serologies, physical examination, karyotype test, biochemical analysis...—, as well as a psychological interview.
  • No presence of genetic diseases in the donor or family history of genetic alterations, infectious diseases or any other conditions likely to be transmitted to offspring.
  • Optimal sperm quality

Sperm quality

In order to qualify as a sperm donor, the seminogram or semen analysis must prove the optimal sperm quality of the semen sample.

Sperm parameters such as sperm concentration, sperm morphology, and sperm motility are examined in the semen analysis. Besides, the absence of viral infections like the HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, herpes..., as well as any other sperm pathology is assessed as well.

On the other hand, it is crucial that the semen sample is able to recover from or survive after the thawing process, since all semen samples will be cryopreserved up to their destined utilization for at least a 6-month period. This is known as the HIV test window period, which is to say, the minimum period of time required to ensure the semen sample is indeed free from viral infections.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), for a candidate to be accepted into the sperm donation program, the semen sample must present an outstanding quality, surpassing therefore the reference values:

  • Sperm concentration must be above 50 million sperm/ml per ejaculation.
  • The progressive motility rate is observed in at least 50% of sperm.
  • Sperm volume is above 2 ml.
  • Sperm morphology must follow the guidelines established by the WHO.

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 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
B.Sc., M.Sc.
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 about Andrea Rodrigo
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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