One of Šráček’s great achievements was developing the Dana coils together with Stanislav ‘Stanley’ Holánek (of the Brno institute for medical engineering) and other scientists in the 1960s: Dana (1962), Dana Super (1965), Dana Super Fix (1966) and Dana Copper (1968). Dana is an abbreviation for “dobrá a neskodná antikoncepce” (good and safe contraception) and coincidentally was also the first name of Šráček’s wife, the paediatrician Dana Šráček. The problems with the first three prototypes (Dana 1 to 3) were high pregnancy and rejection rates. A number of minor improvements, dogged efforts to convince others, and a great deal of testing took place before its final shape (resembling a Christmas tree) was decided on, which never failed to move to the right place in the uterus. One significant difficulty was obtaining the proper material. The desired ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer with copper ions wasn’t available in Czechoslovakia, but thanks to his quick wit Šráček convinced BASF to make an exception to the ban on exports to Communist countries for a good cause. However, this turned out to be the wrong solution because the copper wasn’t able to diffuse freely. Dana coils were widely used until the 1980s in Algeria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Soviet Union, Sweden and Vietnam. Our Šráček collection contains a number of early prototypes in addition to the various Dana models with applicators, demonstration models, manuals and presentations.
Gynaecologist and Inventor of the Dana Coils
Šráček was born on 9 December 1927 in the small Czech town of Valasské Klobouky. After receiving his degree as a medical doctor from the University of Brno in 1951, he worked at the city’s University Clinic for Gynaecology and Obstetrics under Prof. Ludvík Havlásek until 1972. In 1962 Šráček was made head of the maternity homes in Brno, and served from 1972 to 1988 as chairman of the gynaecology and obstetrics department of the regional hospitals in Northern Moravia. In 1988 Šráček retired, then passed away on 14 September 2012.After the Velvet Revolution in 1989 Šráček founded the Czech national association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, serving as its president and later its honorary president. He played an important role in the liberalisation of Czechoslovak law in 1987, as a result of which abortions were legal and free of charge until the eighth week of pregnancy (known by some as Šráček’s law).