Mater Dei's IVF clinic can start to be used soon after law is enacted
The IVF clinic at Mater Dei, which has been lying dormant since the new hospital was built, was this morning visited by Justice Minister Chris Said and Health Minister Joseph Cassar, just a day after the launching of Malta’s first IVF bill for consultation.
The government is hoping that the bill will become law in October and the clinic would start to be used in the beginning of next year.
Most of the equipment needed is already in place, although some of it has not yet been commissioned. What remains for the clinic to be operational is some minor equipment and consumables.
Expert Prof. Mark Brincat explained that the actual IVF would be the last stage in the fertilisation process.
Professionals would start with much simpler procedures building up to IVF if the alternative solutions did not work.
Fertility problems, he noted, were mostly split half way between the couple.
He explained that when IVF was to be undertaken, the woman would be hyper stimulated for four weeks to increase her egg count and would then be placed under light anaesthetic.
The eggs would then be plucked using a long needle. They would then be analysed under a microscope and placed in an incubator.
An individual sperm is injected into each egg keeping on with this process until there are a maximum of two fertilised eggs.
With new technology, Prof. Brincat said, the success rate has gone up to 30 to 40 per cent from five to 10 per cent.
The clinic includes a liquid nitrogen vat to be used for freezing eggs and sperm. It could also be used to freeze embryos in the exceptional cases provided for by the law.
Dr Said said the bill was not copied off another country’s law but various countries’ legislation was looked at.
Dr Cassar said that just as there was already a lot of cooperation between private and public hospitals, private hospitals would be able to store eggs using government facilities against payment.