Oocytes donation was legalised by Spanish legislation in 1988 (Law 35/1988, of 22 November). Donors must fulfil a series of requirements in order to donate their eggs:
- Age: 18 to 35.
- Their genetic history must comply with the requirements of the legislation currently in force.
- They must have a normal reproductive system.
In order to be accepted into the oocyte donation programme at IVI, women must undergo a full medical and psychological assessment that provides us with valuable information about their fertility, their state of health and their potential to become mothers. They are given a very thorough gynaecological check-up which will rule out the presence of cysts, myomas, polyps and other irregularities of the reproductive organs. A chromosomal study will also be carried out to rule out the possibility of any future defects in her own babies or in babies born to recipients of her oocytes. It will be confirmed that she is free from any transmissible diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and syphilis, and her blood group and Rh factor will also be checked.
According to the law on assisted reproduction techniques, oocyte donation is anonymous and voluntary, and as such IVI does not reveal the identity of either donors or recipients. However, information which is important for monitoring the pregnancy correctly can be provided, such as the blood group and age of the donor.
The woman receiving the embryos must undergo treatment to prepare her endometrium prior to embryo transfer.
Recipient women are given medication to prepare their uterus for implantation by the transferred embryos. While they are waiting for a donation, they must keep in close contact with their IVI centre so that they can be located.
As soon as there is a suitable donation for the particular case in question, the patients will be informed with sufficient advance warning for proceeding to fertilisation of the oocytes.
Preparation of the semen
The semen can be obtained on the same day as the oocyte donation, following a period of sexual abstinence. It is prepared in the laboratory in order to remove certain components and to select the most suitable spermatozoa for fertilising the donated oocyte. Semen can also be cryopreserved in advance of donation, and on the day when there is a compatible oocyte donor the previously frozen sample can be used.
Fertilisation and transfer
The spermatozoa and oocytes are brought into contact through the technique of in vitro fertilisation or sperm microinjection. Once the embryos have been fertilised, they stay in the in vitro fertilisation laboratory until it is time for them to be transferred. Once fertilisation has been achieved, the number of embryos to be transferred into the woman’s uterus is selected. The perfect moment for this transfer, as well as the number of embryos to be transferred, will be decided by the doctors based on the medical history of the couple, the number of embryos obtained and their characteristics, and the individual circumstances of the present treatment cycle.