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Dear Fertility Clinic Couples,

For many years, the KinderWunschKliniken of Dr. Loimer have been campaigning for a liberalisation of the Austrian Reproductive Medicine Act.

It was clear that the government had to act on the reproductive medicine act. The Constitutional Court had repealed important legal provisions with a transitional period until the end of 2014. The reviewed draft sent now goes beyond the legal guidelines set by the judge and creates generally more liberal rulings.
Justice Minister Wolfgang Brandstetter and Health Minister Sabine Oberhauser agreed on a number of changes:

Egg cell donation will be legal!
Egg cell donation is a novelty in Austria. The donor may not be older than 30 years of age, the recipient may not be older than 45 years of age. This liberalization exceeds the latest Constitutional Court judgment. The child that is then born, is then given the right after his or her 14th birthday (just as with sperm donation) to learn the name of the donor. However donors never have an obligation of maintenance. Also, it remains that no compensation may be paid for the donation of sperm or egg cells.

Donor sperm will be legal for lesbian couples!
This right was a direct result of the Constitutional Court judgment. Two lesbians claimed in order to receive the right to receive donor sperm, which until now was reserved only for heterosexual couples. This right will be effective as of 2015. After the birth, both women are then automatically seen as the child’s parents. Prerequisite for a sperm donation is a long-term relationship. A marriage or a civil partnership is not necessary.

IVF with donor sperm will be legal!
To date, in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) – fertilization outside of the body – was only permitted using sperm from the partner. In the future, IVF will also be permitted using the sperm of a third party (until now these were only allowed when fertilizing the egg cells that are inside the woman). 

The examination of the embryo (PID) before implantation will be legalised!
The pre-implantation diagnostic (PID) will be permitted under strict regulations:
- after three unsuccessful IVF attempts or miscarriages, the embryo may be examined before it is implanted into the mother,
- in addition, PID is permitted when there is a risk of serious hereditary disease for the child. 

Austria will institute the PID without a judgement. Without an amendment there could have been a conviction by the European Court of Justice for Human Rights, who had previously contested the similar Italian legislation. Without an amendment, it would have remained legal in Austria to abort handicapped children up until birth, but illegal to examine embryos before implantation.

Austria adopts a liberal law.

This is a “very up-to-date law“, lawyer Helmut Graupner tells the “Presse”. He took the issue of the lesbians who were fighting for donor sperm to court. The Neos are “positively surprised” by the government, and the Greens are not entirely satisfied, as single women remain excluded from the rights. The FPO has identified “sociopolitical left-leftist arbitrariness” and Team Stronach warns against “baby farms”. The Catholic Action Life League fears that women may come under pressure as potential egg cell donors and that the children’s interests have been seriously neglected.

There are many different legislations across Europe: Egg cell donation is illegal in Germany and Switzerland, whilst being legal in France, Spain or the Czech Republic. Surrogacy is illegal in 15 of the 29 EU countries. In Belgium, Great Britain or Greece for example, it is legal.

There will also be many positive changes regarding the IVF fund. We expect that the majority of the new treatments will soon be financially assisted.

Me and my employees will keep you up to date on all new regulations.  

Kindest regards,

Dr Leonhard Loimer

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