Childless couples have a choice in Austria

By Alessia De Silva

A new clinic opened down the road from our offices in Vienna recently – with a large picture of a baby on the front.

It is the Institut für Reproduktionsmedizin und Psychosomatik der Sterilities – rather a mouthful even if you do speak German – and what that means in English is that it offers childless couples help to conceive.

It is a subject that is often difficult to tackle for those in their home country – but if forced to be abroad, for work for example, it can be especially hard.

But as the Austrian Independent found in this report, in Austria every help is given to those who feel they may need the help of science to conceive.

The most important worry is cost and in Austria it doesn’t need to cost the earth – anyone registered in the Austrian health care system for three months at least can get the treatment for free.

And a trip to the centre in the 14th district where staff speak English is available to guide parents through a decision where they will need all the help and support that they can get.

The clinic believes that the IVF method of treating infertility offers couples the most natural and stable pregnancies.

Infertility can be caused by one or both partners. Generally in Austria, a third of cases are caused by a problem with the male, another third by the woman, and lastly a third caused by both the male and the female.

The institute, located at number 82, Hadikgasse, provides careful courses to ensure the patients receive the best treatment possible. Tablets, which release hormones into the women so she produces more eggs for fertilization and can lead to pregnancy, and IUI, where the sperm is inserted with a needle into an egg are also an option, but the clinic prefers IVF.

Primarily, an ovulation induction is carried out where medications are taken to produce several eggs in one cycle.

A semen analysis also is carried out to evaluate particular characteristics of a male’s semen and the sperm it contains.

The clinic uses this to investigate a couple’s infertility. The woman is asked questions about her life, to uncover potential reasons as to why there is a problem with conceiving. Smoking, drinking and drugs might all be an issue.

Once the egg is removed surgically by the doctor, the embryologist will mix the eggs and sperm. When this is carried out, the embryos are then transferred to the uterus, where they are implanted into the lining.

The institute believes that the only side effect of IVF treatment is that it is possible, if (in the unlikely event) the uterus is overactive, for it to pump the embryo outside to the fallopian tube.

This will then be called an ectopic pregnancy, and can cause rupture of the organ in which it implanted. Consequences can be fatal, but this is extremely rare.

However, there are complications to be aware of with the treatment. Multiple pregnancies are more common than with normal pregnancies, and this is why a single embryo transfer is favoured.

If the clinic is confident that your embryos are healthy and have a high chance of implanting, this will be recommended, as it decreases the chance of multiple pregnancies.

The procedure of single embryo transfer is the same as a standard one, except that only one embryo is transferred – the one the embryologist feels is most likely to succeed – and any remaining ones are frozen and kept.

The only restrictions on physical and personal lifestyle the clinic feel important to make during the cycle are on sports.

This is due to the fact that, if the woman jumps, for example, the ovaries can turn, and this can be very painful. Nevertheless, the therapy is ‘tailored around normal life’, and so there are little other limitations made. Most therapy is also carried out at home, such as giving injections, so there are no real obstacles the woman has to prepare or be relaxed for.

The Institut für Reproduktionsmedizin und Psychosomatik der Sterilities which also has other clinics in Austria has a 55% success rate for couples carrying out IVF treatment.

This is extremely high, and has risen enormously from clinics globally over the past few years.

Although Austria does not permit donation of the eggs for ethical reasons, the clinic has managed to work around this and created a comfortable procedure which they believe potential parents can depend on.

Address: Hadikgasse 82, 1140 Vienna
Tel.: 894 63 30
Fax: 894 63 30 18