Couples seeking IVF will have to pay after third attempt

Government to outsource IVF procedure to private operator using Mater Dei assets

The health ministry has published an EU-wide tender for the provision of in vitro fertilization services, in a first step towards the introduction of IVF as part of the national health service.

The ministry said that couples would soon start to be screened for eligibility before the clinical phases of IVF.

"Eligible couples will be given the opportunity of only three free IVF interventions," the health ministry said.

Couples will be selected as laid down in the Embryo Protection Act. To be clinically eligible for this service, a couple has to be referred to the Fertility Assisted Clinic at Mater Dei Hospital by their family doctor or specialist.

The tender published yesterday provides for a schedule where the amount of cycles will increase yearly over a period of three years.

Malta's IVF law provides for the freezing of a woman's ova, and not for the freezing of fertilized embryos.

The assisted reproductive services will consist of a clinical assessment of the couple, hormonal stimulation and induction of ovulation; the retrieval of the female egg, production of sperm sample or surgical extraction of sperm; the IVF procedure itself, including embryo culture, assisted hatching and the transfer back of fertilised eggs; and obstetric follow-up till birth.

The retrieval of egg and IVF procedure itself will be outsourced in the form of a private public partnership (PPP) contractual agreement, whilst retaining in-house services for the clinical assessment and obstetric follow-up.

The entire service will carried out at Mater Dei. "This will maximize continuity of care by healthcare professionals, clients' comfort and convenience, whilst at the same time maximising the assets that have already been invested in the Maltese island's main public hospital, including the necessary equipped theatre, whilst also saving on further expenditure," the ministry said.

"This is a new PPP-model, tailor-made for our local context where Mater Dei Hospital assets would yield a return on the investment as the private provider may utilise these same facilities for private patients in out of duty hours," the ministry said.

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Why cant these ppl get it through their minds..... Ivf is not an option for couples... Its a must if the want to raise a family... No one wants to go through it but some need to.. Its hard enough for these couples why make life harder.... Do you know what a couple goes through when they are told that there is no way conceiving naturally, do you know how many tests they go through , how many negative result? Dont think so... You should live some time with a couple going through treatment maybe you realise the pain they have to go through
"Eligible couples will be given the opportunity of only three free IVF interventions," the health ministry said. How about just scrapping the idiotic egg-freezing idea and going for the much more successful and sensible embryo freezing? The church won't be appeased in either case so might as well go for the one that's medically recommended.