Partner donation (also ROPA method) has been a treatment option at our centre since 2015, where both female partners contribute to the pregnancy. Until now, it was not clear whether there were any restrictions analogous to egg donation. A couple's request to the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs and Health now confirmed: female couples are allowed to donate egg cells to each other. As the first Austrian rainbow fertility centre, we have been supporting women in a same-sex partnership on their Fertility Journey since 2015. So far, we have assisted over 500 couples - including the celebrity couple Ernst.
Good news for same-sex female couples: as of recently, there is unrestricted access to partner donation in Austria. In concrete terms, this means that within the partnership, a woman can receive the egg cells of her partner as a donation, according to § 3 para. 1 of the Reproductive Medicine Act (FMedG). The confirmation of the request to the Federal Ministry means a relief for these couples on their Fertility Journey: Because until now it was not clear whether the same strict requirements apply to partner donation as to egg donation from a third person. The clarification from the Ministry of Health indicates that the use of the partner's egg cells does not correspond to an egg donation.
Our medical director, Prof. Dr. Andreas Obruca, is pleased that this partner donation is now officially possible: "Since 2015, we have been carrying out partner donation as a routine treatment in compliance with the legal requirements. We have felt the need and the increased demand for this method for years. As the first rainbow fertility centre that has been committed to the needs of these couples since the beginning, we are naturally very pleased that we can now offer partner donation to all interested female couples without any restrictions."
500 women couples accompanied on Fertility Journey
We have been supporting same-sex couples for years: in 2015, we were the first fertility centre in Austria to establish a Rainbow Fertility Centre, and for the past four years we have also been cooperating with Vienna Pride. For the past six years, numerous successful fertility treatments have been carried out for female couples - the sperm donors required for this are recruited and tested independently by our IVF laboratory team in Vienna. In the meantime, we have treated more than 500 couples, of which a good two-thirds have been able to enjoy a positive pregnancy.
Offspring for the Ernst family after treatment at the Kinderwunschzentrum an der Wien
Among these happy couples is the prominent Ernst couple. The Austrian singer-songwriter Virginia Ernst and her wife Dorothea Ernst are celebrating the birth of their son in the summer of 2021 after successful treatment at the Kinderwunschzentrum an der Wien. Virginia Ernst on becoming parents: "We are overjoyed, overwhelmed by the love for our child and proud that we have become parents. The opportunity to have a child is unfortunately not a matter of course these days. That's why we really appreciate the commitment and work of the Kinderwunschzentrum an der Wien."
EU-wide requests for treatment
The fact that fertility treatment in same-sex partnerships is not readily available throughout the EU is also shown by a look at the regulations of other EU member states. Especially in Hungary or Poland, the situation for these couples has recently worsened considerably. We are receiving more and more enquiries from female couples, especially from these countries, and recognise the need for action here: "At the moment, many same-sex couples with the desire to have children are contacting us, especially from Hungary or Poland. Even though the organisation is naturally somewhat more complex, we also support these couples in fulfilling their wish. At the same time, however, we would naturally like to see a fair and up-to-date regulation across all EU member states," says Prof. Dr. Obruca.