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Legal situation surrounding fertility treatment in Austria


Provisions on IVF, sperm donation, egg donation, lesbian couples & more

Infertility treatment in Austria is regulated by several laws, the most important of which is the Reproductive Medicine Act. In addition, there is a legally regulated possibility of financial support for artificial insemination, the IVF fund.

Reproductive Medicine Act

The Reproductive Medicine Act (Fortpflanzungsmedizingesetz, FMedG) was passed in 1992 and amended for the last time at the beginning of 2015 (Reproductive Medicine Amendment Act 2015, FMedRÄG 2015). It regulates the forms of treatment of medically assisted reproduction and the handling of embryos.

New provisions of the Reproductive Medicine Act of 2015

Since 2015, the legal situation regarding IVF in Austria has changed fundamentally. This applies in particular to these regulations:

Legal situation regarding egg donation

For medically assisted fertility treatment, treatment with an egg donation is permitted under certain conditions. The following requirements must be met for this:

  • The donor must be under 30, the recipient must not be older than 45.

  • As with sperm donation, the child has the right to know who the donor was from the age of 14.

  • Donors do not have a maintenance obligation, but they are also not allowed to demand payment for the donation of eggs.

  • For couples who are not married, counselling by a court or notary about the legal consequences of consent is required. Consent is given in writing, in the case of couples without a marriage certificate in the form of a court record or notarial deed.

Legal situation regarding sperm donation

Due to the amendment to the law, In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is now permitted not only in the case of a sperm donation from a life partner, but also with the sperm of a third party. In this case, legal counselling by a court or notary is mandatory.

  • The mixing of sperm donations is prohibited.

  • The sperm of a donor may also be applied to a maximum of three recipients.

  • The child has a right to information and can find out who the biological father is after the age of 14.

Legal situation with respect to Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)

Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (= examination of the embryo before implantation) is permitted under strict conditions: After three unsuccessful attempts at IVF, or abortions, an embryo may be examined before it is implanted in the uterus. If, due to the genetic predisposition of a parent, there is a risk of the child having a serious hereditary disease, the use of PGD is allowed.

  • Artificial insemination may only be performed by specially trained physicians and in approved hospitals.

  • With IVF, only as many eggs as are necessary to obtain good prospects from treatment within one cycle may be fertilised.

  • Embryos may not be used for research purposes.

  • Semen and eggs used for IVF, as well as embryos, may be kept for a maximum of ten years.

  • The cloning of humans is forbidden.

  • Embryo donation and surrogacy continue to be banned in Austria.

The IVF fund for financial assistance

The IVF Fund Act has been in effect since 1st January 2000, and was amended in early 2015.

Who bears the cost of an IVF treatment?

The Austrian IVF fund is supported by the statutory health insurance funds, the Family Benefits Fund, health care institutions and private insurance companies.

The IVF Fund was established to relieve the financial burden on couples whose desire to have children has not yet been met. If certain conditions are fulfilled, 70% of the costs of fertility treatment (In-vitro Fertilisation, IVF) can be assumed, and the couple in question will in this case only have to pay an own-contribution of 30%. The IVF Fund Act regulates the circumstances under which treatment costs are borne by the Fund and where affected couples can turn to.

As part of In-vitro Fertilisation, the following steps and treatments are co-funded by the IVF fund:

  • Stimulation treatment

     Following hormonal stimulation to mature the eggs, the mature eggs are then extracted from the ovaries and mixed with the partner's semen in the laboratory. If fertilisation occurs, the viable cells can be introduced into the woman's uterus.

  • Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
    An intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is often used to help along the process of supporting fertilisation. It involves introducing a sperm cell directly into the egg cell.

  • Cryopreservation
    If more embryos are created during fertilisation than can be implanted in the uterus, one has the possibility of freezing them and keeping them to potentially use a later point in time. This is called cryopreservation.

    If there are no spermatozoa in the ejaculate, these can be obtained directly from the epididymides or testes. These methods are referred to as MESA (microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration) and TESA (testicular sperm aspiration).

The following treatments are NOT supported by the IVF fund:

  • Insemination
    i.e., the introduction of semen into a woman's uterus, does not fall within the scope of the IVF Fund Act and is therefore not financially supported..

  • Provision of donor sperm or egg donatione
    The costs of having donor sperm provided or egg donation will not be covered.

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