Spain, report 116,688 fertility treatments, placing Spain at the head of Europe and the third leading country in the world.

Spain finally has its first national register of fertility treatments. Clinics have not been obliged to share their data until now, so this could not be properly assessed. Estimates for 2013 by the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF) were voluntary, and put the number of cycles at 78,942. New figures for 2014, which include data from the 278 assisted reproduction clinics throughout Spain, report 116,688 treatments, placing Spain at the head of Europe and the third leading country in the world, after the United States and Japan, as regards assisted reproduction. Around 30% of these cycles end in a live birth. Thus, the SEF claims that “around 40,000 babies have been born thanks to assisted reproduction techniques”.

These data clearly show the important effect of these techniques on the birth rate in Spain. In 2015, 419,109 children were born, so that one in every ten is the result of fertility treatment. “To these data we must add the more than 12,000 cycles in patients from other countries, from which between 3,000 and 4,000 more children would have been born”.

Reasons why couples attend these clinics

The new register also reveals the main reasons why couples attend these clinics. In three out of ten cases, it is a result of female factor infertility (30.3% of cases), while male factor problems fall to 23.7%, and mixed causes account for 25%. Moreover, as has been occurring over recent years, growing numbers of women are choosing to face motherhood alone. They account for 3.6%, reflecting the fact that this option is becoming increasingly normal.

Around 20% of pregnancies are twin pregnancies 0.3% are triplet pregnancies.0,3

There are currently 364,765 frozen human embryos in Spain at present, and finding a way out for them is difficult.  The law considers three possibilities: donate them to science; donate them to another couple; or destroy them. The first option is rarely used because, “although there are couples who choose this route, there is no research today that works with embryos; most laboratories opt for stem cells”. The second option, from which other couples would benefit, is barely considered, and is only offered by one or two clinics. Finally, with respect to destruction, this is ruled out because “for ethical reasons, no clinic destroys their embryos”. Furthermore, the law sets 35 years old as an age limit for the donor, so many embryos that are not effective for the couple, cannot be assigned to others”.

The donor profile does not differ much either from the one identified in the few years before this official register was implemented. The average age of women who opt for this route is 37 years old. Thus, according to the data, four in ten cycles are performed in patients aged between 35 and 39 years old, using their own eggs. However, 68% of donor egg treatments have been carried out in patients over 40 years (La Razón.9-XI-2016).