Oocyte Donation: Spanish Model
The egg donation (ED) is a usual practice nowadays in Spain. According to the 2015 Register of the Spanish Society of Fertility (SEF) approximately 21.800 of recipient cycles had been performed which represents the 17% of the total number of Assisted Reproduction Techniques (ART) treatments.
ED is mainly indicated in cases of premature ovarian failure, previous IVF / ICSI failures and ovarian failure. Furthermore, the recipient’s age is another indication lately present in ED programmes, especially in Western societies where delaying motherhood requires using donated eggs from younger women.
Several factors have contributed to transform Spain into a convenient and safe destination for patients seeking ED, coming from countries with more restrictive or less friendly laws. On the one hand, it is the ‘openness’ of the Spanish ART laws (law 35 /1988, the first Spanish Human Assisted Reproduction Law already allowed gamete donation as the current one, Law 14/2006). On the other hand, it is also mentioned the quality and safeness of biomedical daily practices as well as the ED anonymous and altruistic character. Although the Spanish law that ED and its publicity should respect the altruistic character of the practice, monetary compensations for donors are contemplated by law. Nowadays, they have been organised to acknowledge the investment of the donors’ time, travel, diets and labour leave.
According to the 2015 SEF Register, the pregnancy per embryo transfer rate achieved by ED with fresh eggs was of 54.5% with a 39,2% of live birth rate, and 51.3% and 32.9%, respectively with frozen eggs. The multiple pregnancy rate was 23,5%. Quality and safety rules are established in the Spanish law (Ley 14/2006 and RD-Ley 9/2014- transposition of the European Directive :2004/23/EC and 2006/17/EC) along the entire donation process. The egg donors and recipients’ treatments has been adjusted to health, safety, success and convenience comply with the clinical standards. Nevertheless, two controversial issues still remain unsolved: the creation and uptake of a national register of donors to reduce incidents, congenital malformations and hereditary diseases to prevent future childhood risks and also the increasing both professional and patient awareness towards an elective single embryo transfer to reduce multiple pregnancies avoiding the associated risks to them.
Elisabet Clua obtained her degree in Biology at the University of Barcelona in 1991. She is Master in Cytogenetics and Reproductive Biology of the Department of Cellular Biology, Physiology and Immunology of the Faculty of Biosciences of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2013) and Doctor in Cellular Biology for the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2016). She has been working at the Reproductive Medicine Service at Hospital Universitari Dexeus since 1995 and was IVF patient monitoring coordinator from 1995 to 2004. Since 2004 she has been in charge of the egg and embryo donation program.
She is a member of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), the Association for the Study of Reproductive Biology (ASEBIR) and the Spanish Society of Fertility (SEF). Her main interests are related to egg and embryo donation, prevention of multiple pregnancy, as well as ethics and psychological aspects of donation.