IVF success rates at Mater Dei should be submitted for audit, MP says

Shadow health minister Stephen Spiteri says MaltaToday report on Mater Dei success rates for IVF requires inquiry and explanation for high OHSS risk rate

Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri
Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri

Nationalist MP Stephen Spiteri has said serious revelations in a MaltaToday report on a “50% risk rate” of ovarian hyperstimiulation in Mater Dei hospital IVF procedures, was a cause for concern that merited inquiry.

Spiteri said the report, which suggests a high rate of mandatory freezing of emrbyos when women are at risk of OHSS, shows the Mater Dei public-private partnership with Cherubino should be audited.

“There definitely should be a review of the success rates for IVF on the national health service,” Spiteri said, who also supports extending PPPs to improve the NHS’s reach.

“Where taxpayers’ money is involved, such a service should be audited. But we must also review IVF success rates, because IVF is all based on success. And success is not governed by the government’s talk on freezing embryos or offering preimplantation genetic diagnosis,” Spiteri said.

The MP pointed out that the 50% rate of OHSS cited in the Embryo Protection Authority’s report was “serious” and that medically, questions must be asked about such a rate.

“Why are we having this high rate of OHSS, when we know the risks of this situation? It’s not fair for people who avail themselves of this service to be presented with such a risk. It is possiblee that the method being used to stimulate oocyte creation is incorrect.”

Spiteri also said the NHS unit for free IVF could be suffering from a lack of staff as well as supportive treatment and pre-clinical counselling for prospective IVF patients and parents.

MaltaToday on Sunday reported low success rates for Mater Dei Hospital’s IVF unit were worryingly coupled with a reported 50% risk rate for OHSS, a procedure that mandates the freezing of embryos but which is incomparable to global standards.

The Embryo Protection Authority has decided it will only renew a licence to Mater Dei’s licensee, the pharmaceutical company Cherubino for the next seven months.