Legal Aspects Of Egg Donation In Spain


Egg donation is one option for women who cannot have children and want to become mothers. This in vitro fertilization technique consists in taking the egg of a donor which will be fertilised using a sperm sample. The embryo conceived will then be placed into the uterus of the recipient patient.

Over the past few years, this treatment has increased its importance. Therefore, it is necessary to know all the legal aspects of egg donation. In Spain , where Law 14/2006 rules the assisted human reproduction techniques.

According to Instituto Bernabeu, the Spanish Law describes oocyte donation as an altruistic and unpaid act, since the donor does it to help those women who cannot themselves produce an egg. Moreover this act does not allow to trade human bodies and their cells. The Spanish Fertility Acts does allow an economic compensation for the discomforts caused during the treatment.

One of the aspects to be highlighted is the fact that the donation is anonymous. The Law sets up the donor’s guarantee of confidentiality. Neither her identity nor her personal data can be disclosed, so both the donor and the person receiving her egg will not be able to trace her. Only in very exceptional cases, for reasons that could pose a risk to the child’s life or health, or that are related to criminal procedural issues, the identity of the donor could be revealed.

What the couple receiving the eggs can know is some very general information about the donor, as long as it doesn’t include her identity or any specific data as noted above.

As for the donor, she also needs to know that this is a safe process. At Instituto Bernabeu, she will be taken care of at all times and will be looked after throughout the process. During the egg donation process, the patient will only experience some discomfort very similar to the one during menstruation.

Finally, it should be noted that, to become an egg donor, there are always a number of conditions to be met, since not everyone is suitable as a donor. At Instituto Bernabeu, the donors must meet the following conditions:
-the woman must be between 18 and 32 years old
-She must be in good overall health and not suffer any genetic, hereditary or infectious diseases that may be transferred to the children
-She must have a normal ovarian function
-She must not be overweight and not have given birth to more than six children

The clinic carries out a comprehensive psychological, gynaecological and medical examination for all women involved in the egg donation process.

Egg Donation: Fresh Or Frozen Eggs?

In recent years, one of the questions of particular importance for women who opt for egg donation is whether or not the eggs have been frozen, and which is the best option. A lot of recipients experience some doubts when starting this assisted reproduction technique as they are unsure if using frozen eggs reduces the chances of success.


Egg freezing processes have improved massively in the last few years. The process of vitrification enables to freeze eggs when a woman is fertile. These developments have lead to higher survival rates than with other freezing techniques. According to Instituto Bernabeu, it is a safe technique that prevents the formation of ice crystals within the cell, preventing them from being destroyed when thawed.


In addition to this with the use of frozen donor eggs there is no need to synchronise the preparation of the recipient’s uterus with the donor, as is the case with fresh donor eggs. In this way, the patient does not have to wait for transfer until the donor is ready.


However, eggs are the biggest cell in the body and this makes them vulnerable to thermal stress. Thus, their survival rate is not as high as some cellular structures may suffer in the freeze-thaw process. Instituto Bernabeu reports that while frequency of use of previously vitrified eggs has increased among patients, the results are not the same as what we can currently achieve with fresh oocytes.


In this regard, Instituto Bernabeu states that fresh eggs currently offer better results and safety, both to the patients and the children.

Egg Donation: An Alternative Option To Become A Mother

In recent years, assisted reproduction techniques have advanced in a very efficient way. Therefore, a woman who is unable to conceive with her own eggs, whether due to age or other causes, can rely on other alternatives to become a mother.


In these cases, one of the most in-demand treatments is egg donation, a very efficient alternative choice to become a mother. Thanks to the solidarity of the egg donors, many women can achieve their dream. In Spain, this practice is regulated since 1998 and it is performed in a controlled and anonymous way, as it has been done at Instituto Bernabeu for more than 20 years. In addition, Spain is among the first countries in terms of egg donation, perfecting this technique day after day.


As this is a very important decision to make for any woman or couple, you should be in a clinic with trusted expertise, who will accompany you in every step. Instituto Bernabeu developed a very comprehensive selection protocol for egg donors, which includes a complete personal and family clinical history and also a comprehensive  medical examination.


On the other hand the patient who wants to become a recipient will receive the most suitable eggs from young women, based on features such as her race, her blood type and her physical characteristics.


Therefore, this alternative option to become a mother has a high pregnancy rate. At Instituto Bernabeu, the rate goes up to 95% and, furthermore, the egg donation records a very low incidence of miscarriage due to the good quality of the donated eggs.

Usually there are no waiting times and each recipient patient is assigned exclusively a donor, ensuring a high quality of donated eggs with mean number of 11 eggs for each cycle.


Other features of the egg donation program at Instituto Bernabeu are the young age of egg donors (mean age 25 years).

This is a very important factor in determining good quality embryos. Around 70% of embryos will reach the blastocyst stage. Additionally, any surplus good quality embryos will be suitable for freezing.


The procedure with this assisted reproduction technique is simple and begins with synchronizing the ovarian stimulation of the donor with the preparation of the recipient’s uterus, who only has to take estrogen orally or transdermally for between 18 and 30 days.


Instituto Bernabeu is a which is a European referral clinic for egg donation and  has extensive experience in this alternative option to motherhood.

Egg Donation: What Are The Pregnancy Rates?

Egg donation is an assisted reproduction technique which is in high demand by couples who have fertility problems. Many women decide to become mothers using donated eggs due to the high pregnancy rates with quality embryos.


96% of patients achieve pregnancy after 3 courses of egg donation, according to figures of Instituto Bernabeu.


The main factor for these high rates is the age of the egg donor, since the younger the woman is, the higher the pregnancy rate. So, at Instituto Bernabeu, the egg donors are between 18 and 32 years old, with an average age of 25. Moreover, they undergo a comprehensive health check, which includes a psychological, clinical and genetic evaluation. The rate of mature eggs is 90%, demonstrating the proper selection of the egg donors and the correct application of the ovarian stimulation patterns.


Furthermore, around 70% of patients have surplus good quality embryos which are suitable to vitrify, contributing a major asset for future attempts. At Instituto Bernabeu, with more than 35 years of experience, the egg donor is selected individually to ensure the maximum similarity with the recipient patient. Thus, an appropriate number of eggs are ensured under thorough medical supervision.


This way, the fertilisation rate (the amount of eggs that will generate embryos) is 75%.


In addition to that, about 70% of the cycles additional quality embryos can be vitrified with a cumulative pregnancy rate of 85% per cycle.

There is also a philosophy of Single Embryo transfer which helps avoiding twin pregnancies and therefore avoiding high risk pregnancies.

Egg Donation, An Option For Becoming A Single Mother

Many women choose to be single mothers, and usually they make this decision when they are over 35 years old. This is when the ovarian reserve starts to decline to half and problems with conception may arise. Because of that women face a further challenge in starting their family due to reduced egg quality. One solution could be to turn to egg donation, a technique in assisted reproduction that offers better chances of pregnancy, together with sperm donation.


During the journey of single motherhood, support and care is always crucial. Instituto Bernabeu has extensive experience in caring for women who have decided to start a family without a partner. It is a leading European centre for egg donation, with a large donor database since beginning in 1992.


Becoming a single mother is not an easy decision, and opting for egg donation makes it an even bigger step to take. It is a situation that requires maturity and thought. With this in mind Instituto Bernabeu always offers patients extra peace of mind taking care of the donor selection and treatment, in order for the process to proceed in the best way possible.


In order to ensure the best match and security, the clinic conducts a psychological, clinical and genetic evaluation of the donors, as well as a screening for the 10 most common sexually transmitted diseases.



Egg donation treatment does not require ovarian stimulation or injections for the future mother, and there is a lower risk of miscarriage due to chromosomal alterations that could be tied to a patient’s age. The sperm donor also goes through extensive testing, to complete a treatment in the best conditions possible.


Instituto Bernabeu strives for singleton pregnancies, avoiding twin pregnancies and their potential complications for the health of the mother and future child.


Pregnancy in women with endometriosis


Infertility in women of reproductive age can be caused by diseases such as endometriosis, which is linked to the presence of functionally active endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity. Furthermore it may occur with different symptoms and not all the factors that cause it are known, so it is difficult to diagnose.


In order to achieve pregnancy in these women, all possible assisted reproduction treatments can be used, ranging from the simplest to the most complex depending on the extent of the disease.


The thickness of the uterus can also be affected by a variant of endometriosis, adenomyosis, which can reduce the embryo’s ability to implant and later develop. Its diagnosis is particularly important, although it is complicated and, to this effect, checks with three-dimensional ultrasounds need to be made.


The findings of a research developed in France to assess the obstetric and perinatal results in pregnancies following assisted reproduction treatment in women with endometriosis reveals that complications are more common. Therefore, bleeding during the first term, a risk of premature birth, pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction are more likely to occur, even the number of caesarean births is higher. All of these symptoms are linked to the severity of the endometriosis before gestation.


In order to carry out an early, accurate diagnosis and an effective follow-up for women with endometriosis, Instituto Bernabeu has a separate Unit that uses the latest techniques, such as innovative biochemical markers or realistic images provided by three-dimensional ultrasounds. In fact, a more comprehensive understanding of endometriosis and adenomyosis is gained through the checks that are part of the routine in this Unit and through researches that are being carried out to determine uterine implantation capacity depending on the severity of each case.


The Pregnancy Unit of Instituto Bernabeu has thus personalised and appropriate prenatal checks for those pregnancies achieved following assisted reproduction treatment and they are intensified in women with endometriosis. These women have also previous emotional stress, since they have been suffering unpleasant symptoms for years or have undergone unsuccessful treatments or even surgeries.


Pregnancy in women with this disease is classed as high-risk, so specialised healthcare experts must perform detailed checks more frequently. In this way, complications from endometriosis can be foreseen in order to have a successful pregnancy.



Source: Dr Francisco Sellers, Director of the Medical Unit at Instituto Bernabeu