Sperm Donation in Greece

By BSc, MSc (embryologist) and BA, MA (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 03/03/2016

Both intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be carried out using either husband’s sperm or donor sperm.

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

Indications

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.

Anonymous donation

Greek law 3305/2005 regarding Medically Assisted Reproduction established that sperm donation must stand for a completely anonymous procedure; therefore, the donor recruitment process is in the hands of the fertility clinic or center in which the receiving couple is undergoing the treatment.

According to provisions set out in this law, neither the donor nor the prospective parents or recipient woman can get detailed personal information about one another. Apart from that, recipients can ask the clinic for general information about the physical characteristics of the donor, like height, weight, skin, eye, and hair color, etc.

Access to personal data about the donor is classified information. Only the donor-conceived child will be granted access on severe medical grounds or when his life is at stake.

Another important aspect addressed in Greek law is the limit on the number of offspring a sperm donor may give rise to. Thus, sperm donation in Greece has a limit of 10 children carrying the same genetic material.

Donor screening

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.

Treatments with donor sperm

Sperm donation can be a fertility option both in the treatments of intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF). This article shall explain all about IVF when donor sperm is used, regardless of whether donor or own eggs are used.

IVF using donor sperm

In vitro fertilization can be carried out either using fresh or frozen gametes. When fresh donor sperm is used, the only thing the patient has to do is delivering a semen sample on the same day the woman undergoes follicular puncture to have her eggs retrieved.

Once the semen sample has been examined, it will be washed though sperm capacitation or washing and used for in vitro fertilization, either conventional IVF or through ICSI. The selection of the one type or another of fertilization technique will depend on the quality of the semen sample.

In case the semen sample was collected from an anonymous donor, it must have been previously frozen, something that ruled out the possibility of undergoing a fresh IVF cycle on the part of the male reproductive cells.

Every semen sample collected from an anonymous sperm donor must be frozen throughout a minimum period of 6 months. This period of time is required in order to check wether the donor if free from the HIV infection. After this quarantine period, and provided that the HIV test shows a negative result, the donated sample may be used.

In addition to serological tests related to the detection of infections, sperm donors have to undergo a series of specific tests, such as:

  • Karyotype testing
  • Semen analysis
  • Semen culture
  • Blood type and Rh factor
  • Psychological evaluation

Donor-sperm IVF is indicated in cases of women willing to become single mothers and also in cases of severe male factor infertility.

How much does it cost?

The cost of artificial insemination may range from €300 to €400. However, fertility medications women have to administer in order to increase the success rates are not usually included within this price.

If the technique of choice is artificial insemination by donor (AID) (also known as donor insemination or DI), the cost of the semen sample is around 250-350 euros. Taking this into account, the total cost of artificial insemination by donor is €600 approximately. Again, this amount refers only to sperm capacitation and insemination itself; therefore, the cost of medications and other procedures is at the patients’ expense.

On the other hand, the cost of an IVF cycle using donor sperm may range from €3,500 to €4,500. In any case, prices may vary from clinic to clinic and also depending on the total cost of the program, paying attention to what is included and what’s not, especially:

  • More complex techniques such as assisted hatching, prolonged culture of embryos, etc.
  • Screening of potential sperm donor and prospective mother
  • Medications for the recipient
  • Embryo culture and storage

The law limits the payment donors can receive to €200 as a refund for travel expenses and a maximum of €100 as a compensation for time off work or loss of earnings.

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Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
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 about Andrea Rodrigo
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
BA, MA
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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