108 couples register for first IVF treatment on national health service

"Couples will soon start to be screened as regards eligibility and thus subsequently initiate the clinical phases of IVF," Minister Farrugia said.

The Minister for Health Godfrey Farrugia addressing those who attended the public consultation
The Minister for Health Godfrey Farrugia addressing those who attended the public consultation

The Ministry for Health has launched a public consultation on in vitro fertilisation (IVF) services that will be offerred at Mater Dei Hospital as from November 1st. The meeting was held at the Central Auditorium in Mater Dei Hospital.

Health minister Godfrey Farrugia said that IVF will be considered as part of the national health service and couples would soon start to be screened for their eligibility and eventual clinical phases of IVF.

Clinically eligible couples will have to be referred to the Fertility Assisted Clinic at Mater Dei Hospital by their family doctor or specialist, after conforming to the necessary criteria laid down in the Embryo Protection Act.

108 couples have already registered to partake of the IVF service, with 50 cycles to be carried out this year, 250 cycles next year and 400 cycles in 2015.

"The whole IVF service will be offered by qualified personnel in their various fields and will offer the continuity of care to the couples," Farrugia said.

Assisted reproductive services, namely through IVF or ICSI (the extraction of sperm) will be carried out through an initial clinical assessment of the couple, the hormonal stimulation of the woman, and induction of ovulation of the female parent.

The second phase consists of the retrieval of the stimulated eggs, production of sperm sample, sperm preparation or surgical extraction of sperm, and the IVF procedure itself, including embryo culture, assisted hatching and the transfer back of fertilised eggs. The last phase is the obstetric follow-up till birth.

"To offer a holistic service during the three phases, the couple will be undergoing infertility counselling services which will be available prior to the procedure, during the procedure and after the whole process is over," Farrugia said.

"All the phases will be done at MDH, maximising continuity of care by health care 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 minister said.

"This new service to be launched at MDH in the form of a private-public partnership will give an additional option to couples seeking this specialised service, as couples can now opt for the public in addition to the private sector."

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I hope that one day IVF is made available to same sex couples as well.
A great initiative started by the previous government.