Fertility legislation in Spain

Assisted reproduction legislation in Spain – a comprehensive legal framework for fertility.

Spain is known to be one of the most popular destinations for patients who need assisted reproduction treatment to have offspring. This popularity has numerous causes, in particular the training, professionalism and experience of Spanish medical professionals, the excellent quality of treatments and the good value for money. However, in this article we will focus on another reason that is also crucial for Spain to be one of the leading countries in the field of transnational reproduction: its legislation.

Spanish legislation on assisted reproduction has evolved over the years, leading to a solid and complete legal framework that guarantees access to reproductive solutions for many people. This law, known as the “Law on Assisted Human Reproductive Techniques”, has been fundamental to the development and regulation of advanced assisted reproductive techniques such as gamete donation, the ROPA method or techniques such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis.

History and reforms of the Spanish law on assisted reproduction.

The first specific law on assisted reproduction techniques in Spain was Law 35/1988, approved on November 22, 1988. This law was a pioneering effort in the field of assisted reproduction in the country and established the basic principles for the regulation of the corresponding techniques. It defined both the legal framework for assisted reproduction and key aspects such as the need for informed consent, confidentiality and access to genetic information, and the ethical and legal limits for the use of the techniques employed. It is worth mentioning that the founder of Clínica Tambre, Dr. Pedro Caballero Peregrín, was at the time a member of the Interministerial Council appointed to draw up the bases for the aforementioned law.

On June 25, 2003, Law 14/2003 on Assisted Human Reproduction Techniques was passed, expanding the legal framework established by Law 35/1988. This law introduced new elements such as the donation of gametes (germ cells) and embryos, as well as explicit consent for the use of supernumerary embryos for scientific research purposes. Finally, the Assisted Reproduction Law of 2006 (Law 14/2006) created a further expanded and updated legal framework for assisted reproduction in Spain. This law was created with the aim of regulating and setting the ethical and legal limits in the field of assisted reproduction, and also to protect the rights of the persons involved and the health and well-being of the children conceived through these techniques.

During this legislative process, many of the above-mentioned aspects were clarified. In this article, we would like to highlight some of them.

Important points for patients about the Spanish law on assisted reproduction

Donation of gametes:

The Assisted Reproduction Law comprehensively regulates the issue of gamete donation (eggs and sperm) in Spain. This law states that gamete donation must be anonymous, voluntary and altruistic. Donors must undergo a rigorous selection process and a medical and psychological examination to ensure their suitability and minimize genetic risks.

Maximum age for treatment:

As for the maximum age for access to artificial insemination treatments, the law provides that women up to the age of 50 may undergo these procedures, provided that their state of health allows them to safely carry out pregnancy and childbirth. This age limit is intended to ensure the health of both the mother and her offspring.

ROPA method:

The Assisted Reproduction Act also recognizes and regulates the ROPA method (Reception of Oocytes from the Partner), a technique that allows female couples to share motherhood, which is considered an important step forward in terms of gender equality and recognition of different family models. In this method, the one of the women provides the eggs, which are fertilized in vitro with donor sperm. The resulting embryo is transferred into the uterus of the other woman, who will be the carrier of the pregnancy .

Motherhood for women without a partner:

Since the adoption of the law on assisted reproduction, Spain has evolved its legislation to adapt to scientific changes and social advances. For example, in 2019, a legislative reform was approved that allows the use of assisted reproduction techniques for women without a male partner for social reasons. Although this was possible before, it was reserved for women who had fertility problems.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis:

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a technique that allows embryos to be analyzed before transfer to diagnose possible chromosomal abnormalities. This can be particularly important for couples who are carriers of a genetic inherited disease or who have suffered repeated miscarriages. The Assisted Reproduction Act of 2006 establishes the conditions under which PGD can be performed in Spain. In general, its use is permitted in certain cases, for example, when there is a high risk of transmitting serious genetic diseases to the offspring, when there have been repeated miscarriages in the past for no apparent reason, or when clinics care for patients of advanced age.

It should be emphasized that PGD in Spain is subject to specific legal regulations and requirements, and that its use must be approved by the competent authorities and carried out by duly authorized assisted reproduction centers subject to supervision.

Your fertility expert

The article was prepared and provided by Dr. Jana Bechthold from our partner clinic “Clinica Tambre” in Madrid.

Thanks to our long experience as a fertility clinic in reproductive medicine, we have been able to achieve not only the highest success rates in Spain, but in all of Europe. We are pioneers in the field of artificial insemination and count on a first-class team of experts to guarantee the birth of a healthy baby.

Dr. Jana Bechthold
Dr. Jana Bechthold

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