Fearne ‘does not exclude’ extending free IVF treatment to private clinics

Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Friday that he “does not exclude” extending free IVF treatment to private clinics. 

Speaking during the inauguration of the first such clinic, Fearne defended the success rates of IVF treatment at public hospital Mater Dei. 

Fearne said the 23% success rate that is comparable to other countries on a national scale. 

Questioned about the waiting list for IVF treatment at Mater Dei, Fearne said there is a four-month wait between applying and receiving the first treatment. 

He said the setting up of a private clinic will complement the service already offered by the national health service. IVF was first introduced to Malta by a private hospital in the early 90s. It was added to medical services available at Mater Dei in 2013. 

The Mrieħel-based private clinic is named Hope Fertility and led by Aytuğ Kolankaya, an Obstetrician and Gynecologist who specialises in reproductive endocrinology, infertility treatments and IVF.

More than 400 babies born through IVF

Fearne said Malta’s IVF laws are now on par with other modern European societies. 

The minister said 434 babies have been born in Malta through IVF. He said 40 babies are on the way through IVF treatment, 22 of whom are thanks to treatment at Mater Dei.

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He said Mater Dei is currently preparing to bring in the new services introduced recently in parliament, that will allow for pre-implantation genetic testing. 

Fearne said discussions are underway with Maastrict university for a number of Mater Dei professionals to be trained in carrying out these tests. 

Enterprise Minister Miriam Dalli said Hope clinic’s investment was a result of Malta Enterprise’s efforts to attract foreign investment. 

She said the investment continues to support the government’s vision for more couples to become parents in Malta. 

A medical professional at work in the new clinic. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Dalli said the life sciences sector in Malta is a highly vibrant and technologically advanced economic niche. 

Clinic director Kolankaya said that in its first six months of operation, the clinic had already treated 578 patients, with a 76% success rate. 

Apart from Maltese couples, the clinic has also treated patients from other European countries, Kolankaya said. 

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