Regulations governing egg and sperm donation in Greece

Greek law regulating medically assisted human reproduction treatments is Law 3305/2005, adopted on 27 January 2005. Today, it is among Europe’s most advanced laws on assisted conception.

Its main goal is to protect and secure the rights of those individuals and couples wishing to be on parenthood by covering medical and biological issues while following the bioethical principles of such a process. At the same time, it has one basic responsibility: protecting the best interests of the child.

Among the fertility treatments addressed by the regulations of the Hellenic Country, we can find egg donation and sperm donation, which shall be explained in detail hereunder.

Laws on assisted conception

Regulations governing Assisted Human Reproduction Techniques allows for the application of medically assisted fertility treatment in women until the age of 50. This age limit has been established taking into consideration the average age at which the loss or decline of a woman’s natural reproductive potential takes place.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is hereby approved as a diagnostic method for the screening and detection of genetic abnormalities in embryos. For its part, sex selection is forbidden unless it becomes necessary to prevent the transmission of gender related hereditary diseases.

Another remarkable aspect of law 3305/2005 regarding medically assisted reproduction is that it established that there must exist a notarial deed in cases of lesbian couples and non-married partners willing to have a baby thanks to assisted reproduction techniques.

Policies established in the Hellenic Republic also state a series of requirements as regards embryo transfer. In this sense, the maximum amount of embryos to be transferred varies depending on the receiving woman’s age:

  • Women under 35 using their own eggs: one or two embryos.
  • Women between 36 and 39 using their own eggs: one or two embryos if it is the first or second treatment cycle; a maximum of three embryos can be transferred from the third cycle onwards.
  • Women aged 40 using their own eggs: up until three embryos can be transferred.
  • Women over 40 using their own eggs: up until four embryos can be transferred.
  • Women who use donor eggs can only have a maximum of 2 embryos transferred.

Finally, it should be pointed out that surrogacy is a legal fertility treatment in Greece, but human cloning is strictly forbidden by law.

Requirements for gamete donors

As for egg and sperm donation, Greek law does address it as an allowed technique, although it is subject to agreement in writing by the egg or sperm donor’s spouse, if any.

Besides, the same way as the receiving woman’s age is limited (50 years old), there is a certain age limit for prospective donors. Thus, while potential egg donors cannot be older than 35, the limit for sperm donors is extended to 40 years.

It also defines a series of requirements for donor conception, among which we shall highlight the following:

  • Donors must be screened with a series of clinical and laboratory tests to verify they do not suffer from any genetic, hereditary, or infectious disease.
  • Using fresh donor sperm is strictly forbidden. All semen samples must be cryopreserved for a minimum period of 6 months.
  • Donor conception must be a completely anonymous process, which is to say, donors won’t meet the recipient or recipients, not the other way about. Medical information about the donor may be disclosed only to the donor-conceived individual and provided that it becomes necessary for health reasons.
  • A single donor cannot give rise to more than 10 children.
  • Gamete donation gives donors no parental obligation or right over the donor-conceived child.
  • Using donated sperm from various donors in a single cycle is strictly forbidden.
  • Donor conception must be an altruistic act as well. Any egg or sperm donation made for commercial purposes (i.e. purchase or sale) is prohibited.

2 comments

  1. usuario
    Snoopy

    Hi there,

    I don’t understand why known donors are prohibited while surrogacy is allowed. I think surrogacy is a way more “severe” process than getting to know the identity of your donor… Why then?

    • usuario
      Julie Williams

      Snoopy, that is your point of view… I see donor identity a big issue here. Surrogacy is just another fertility treatment that one can choose, just as one chooses using donor eggs, embryos, adopting, etc. I think anonymity is more intended for donor than for receiving people, because it may be hard for them to know there have children out there who won’t ever hug them. You have to be a kind of cold-hearted person to assume that…

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