Do you have to be married to be able to undergo reciprocal in vitro fertilisation (ROPA)?

Yes.  In order to implement reciprocal in vitro fertilisation (ROPA), you have to be married in accordance with law 14/2006 of assisted human reproduction treatments. Being a couple is not a sufficient relationship status.

Reciprocal in vitro fertilisation (ROPA) permits a woman to use or donate her eggs to a spouse. The couple in question is required to be married as this is a non-anonymous donation, and in accordance with Spanish law, ROPA is a legal exception to the legislation of anonymous donation of gametes (sperm or eggs).


What does ROPA treatment consist of?

ROPA is an assisted human reproduction procedure for married homosexual women to both actively participate in pregnancy.

The treatment is similar to an egg donation with the distinction being the donor will be one of the resulting baby’s mothers, allowing for one partner to contribute their genes to the egg while the other carries the pregnancy to term.


What medical tests have to be done before the start of treatment?

The egg donor must prove to have a quality ovarian reserve and  oocytes, in addition to an absence of transmissible genetic disease which could be passed onto offspring.

Before undergoing treatment, serology and hormonal analysis on the ovarian reserve, general analytical tests and a genetic study (karyotype) are required. An ultrasound will also be conducted to inspect the condition of ovaries.

The recipient  must have a functioning uterine cavity and be in good health in order to successfully carry the pregnancy to full term.

General analytical tests, serology and an ultrasound to examine the uterus’ well-being are also mandatory. It is vital any uterine malformation or possible pathologies such as polyps or uterine myoma are not exhibited.


How to decide which partner should fall pregnant?

The decision as to who assumes which responsibility is taken by the couple in question, although it is important to consider the advice of medical professionals.

The aforementioned procedure is often used by same-sex female couples who both want to actively participate in pregnancy. However, medical limitations can prevent either partner from invovlement and can range between: poor ovocyte quality, low ovarian reserve, absence of ovaries or uterus and transmissible genetic alterations.

Medical advice advocates the donor of eggs be less than 35-years-old and of good ovarian reserve, while the reciepient carrying the pregnancy to term is less than 42-years-old and in good health.


Is it possible to choose a sperm donor?

A sperm donor cannot be selected, although information such as physical characteristics can be disclosed including: eye colour, hair colour, age, group and RH. The latter of which is used to achieve the utmost physical similarity of the mother who will carry the child to term as the donor of eggs is already contributing congenital traits.

In accordance with Spanish law, assisted human reproduction centres can only collaborate with sperm banks recognised by the Ministry of Health, while donations must be anonymous so neither the parents or resulting child know the identity of the semen donor. Only in the event of serious illness to the child can this be exempt.


What about the remaining embryos?

Up to three embryos can be transferred under the law of assisted human reproduction treatments, although it is recommended to transfer more than a single embryo in order to avoid multiple pregnancies.

Viable embryos which are not transferred can be cryopreserved for future treatments in the case initial attempts fail or the couple in question desire further children. Withstanding cryopreserved embryos can also be donated to other couples anonymously or to research.


Is a simultaneous egg donation possible?

Theoretically possible, this would result in both partners transferring embryos and falling pregnant at the same time. However, this is not medically advised in the case of complications carrying to term and matters of care.


Is it possible to fall pregnant with twins using an egg from each mother?

Spanish law on assisted human reproduction treatments does not permit the transfer of embryos formed by three different gametes (ova and sperm).


What is the success rate of treatment?

The success rate of aforementioned treatment is collected via SEF records and is among those with the highest success rates. It can vary between 60% and 75%.

However, the success of pregnancy largely depends on age, ovarian reserves and the quality of eggs provided by the donor.


What does the law say about children born using egg donation treatment?

Both partners are recorded as parents in the Civil Registry.


We hope our latest blog post has helped you resolve questions regarding egg donation, while should you have any questions for our team of fertility specialists  please don’t hesitate to request a free medical consultation..


A hug from the whole team,

Mallorca Fertility Institute

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