Law 14/2006 on Assisted Human Reproduction Techniques (henceforth, LAHRT) describes gamete donation—i.e. egg donation and sperm donation—as a free, formal, and confidential type of contract between an egg or sperm donor and the authorized fertility clinic.
Furthermore, special attention is drawn to the fact that the donation must be both altruistic and anonymous, and limits the number of donations according to how many live births have occurred from the eggs and sperm of a single donor.
Eligibility for gamete donation
Spanish regulations establish that women and men wishing to help other couples throughout their journey to conceive by means of egg donation and sperm donation respectively must meet the following requirements:
- Being at least 18 years old but not older than 35 in the case of women, and a maximum of 40-50 in the case of men. While this age limit is not regulated by law, it is the one applied by the great majority of Spanish fertility clinics.
- Having full capacity to act.
- Being in proper psychological and mental health: prospective donors must meet the requirements established for analytical and psychological tests, performed to verify the donor is indeed free from any genetic, hereditary, or viral infection likely to be inherited by offspring.
- Agreeing to remain anonymous and keep gamete donation an altruistic process as set out in the informed consent he/she must sign.
LAHRT highlights the fact that neither sperm donation nor egg donation can be commercial in nature or subject to become a commercial business by no means.
Besides, the LAHRT draws particular attention to the fact that advertising campaigns designed by fertility clinics or sperm banks aiming at encouraging potential donors must respect the altruistic condition of this act above all. This means there exists a express prohibition against motivating donors by promoting the economic benefits they may get.
Despite the altruistic nature of sperm donation and egg donation, donors are allowed to get an economic compensation due to the potential risks, nuisances, lost work time, and travel expenses derived from the process, according to Spanish regulations governing these fertility treatments.
The Ministry of Health, Equality and Social Policy, following indications provided by the National Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction, limits the maximum amount donors can get for donating their gametes to €800-€1,000 in the case of egg donation, and to €30-€50 for sperm donors.
Gamete donor privacy
Egg and sperm donation must remain anonymous from beginning to end. Neither donors can get to know their prospective gamete recipients nor the recipients will have access to identifiable information about the person who is about to deliver half the genetic material, so that they can become parents.
The allocation of one donor or another lies in the hands of the fertility center, which will do so by taking into account the recipient’s phenotypic (physical appearance) and immunological (Rh factor incompatibility) characteristics.
There is no possible way recipients can choose who they want their donor to be or make known their preferences on the characteristics they desire in a donor.
The law places particular emphasis on the mechanisms to guarantee the confidentiality of gamete donor databases found at sperm banks or fertility clinics. Donor identity disclosure is allowed only under exceptional circumstances in which the baby’s health or life is at stake or when appropriate according to criminal procedural laws. Be it as it may, such revelation would be done to a limited extent and must not become a way to campaign for donor identity disclosure.
Donor-conceived individuals have the right to ask the fertility clinic for general information about their egg and/or sperm donor as long as neither the donor’s identity is revealed nor confidential information is given.