The difficult dream of being parents
Despite the impressive accomplishments of Spain in the treatment of infertility and assisted conception, thousands of infertile couples may not yet have children because the legislation in force.
Almost 15% of Spanish couples at child-bearing age has problems when it comes to conceiving a child naturally. This means a total of 800,000 infertile couples and each year this number increases in 16,000 new cases, according to the Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad.
Esther was 28 years old and her husband 31 when they realized that there was a problem of fertility because the children failed. “We were like all couples, beginning with social security.” After eight years, I left without a diagnosis or no treatment. “I had to go to private medicine, and there they discovered that what I had was an early menopause, and the treatment that we needed was egg donation”, tells the woman.
But this is not a simple treatment. Spain has become in recent years in the favorite destination for couples with fertility problems from Latin America, Morocco, Europe’s East and EU countries such as Italy or Germany.
A report of the Spanish fertility society estimates that you between 5% and 10% of patients with infertility problems are foreigners. The reason: health care Spanish, both the public and the private, offers a variety of infertility treatment greater than that of other countries that do not allow to freeze embryos or carry out treatments with sperm or eggs from donors. Nevertheless, people that suffer from this problem, as Esther, reported that the law is still outdated in this regard.
Esther says: “you face some very expensive treatments, which you can not afford because no one helps you, social security does not help.” “Our surprise is that the clinics have frozen over for many years many embryos that they cannot exit because the law does not allow it”.
Exactly, in Spain there are 50,000 frozen embryos that have not been transferred to provoke a gestation and which remain waiting to take a legal decision on them, according to data provided by the Tambre Foundation, an Institute specializing in fertility treatments. The possibilities are three: that are donated to couples with fertility problems, which are used for research or that they are destroyed.
And it is to exit these Cryopreserved embryos, which is maintained with liquid nitrogen is extremely expensive, is not so easy. Their use for research, although permitted by the Spanish legislation, is limited by the complexity and length of the process. And the option to implant the embryos in women with fertility problems collides with the law, which prohibits the use for those that are older than 35, age in which there is greater demand.
The Deputy Director of the Foundation Tambre, Rocío Núñez Calonge, says: “what should in this regard is to change or adjust the law to actually encourage that there are research projects, and that they can be used… and on the other hand””, allow that these embryos, also generated a pregnancy that couples who are supposedly capable of embryos, use other couples also.”
Associations have been created to help couples who suffer this problem as ASPROIN, which offers advice and information. The last International Symposium on assisted reproduction confirmed that each year are carried out in Spain approximately 50,000 treatments of in vitro fertilization and almost 300,000 of artificial insemination. This represents 3% of the births registered in the country, being the third in Europe in number of cycles of assisted reproduction.
The happiness of many couples with fertility problems depends on a decision that is still frozen. Science and legislation back to live in different dimensions in which feelings and human realities are in the middle. In the absence of a definite yes in the legal sphere, the hopes of many mothers continue to be on hold, as the fate of the thousands of embryos which are kept in Spanish laboratories.