Mother’s Day lifeline for Adelaide fertility clinic

The Marshall Liberal Government has fast-tracked the registration process for Adelaide’s newest fertility clinic, providing certainty to hundreds of hopeful parents-to-be whose embryos faced an uncertain future because of the closure of a fertility clinic at Henley Beach.

The clinic based at Western Hospital stopped providing fresh in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment to patients on 18 April and was slated for closure on 31 May after its lease expired and could not be extended. Investors decided closure was their only option.

But on 29 April, the director of the clinic submitted an urgent application to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade so the director and his team could continue to provide assisted reproductive treatment (ART) to South Australian families – at a new facility.

“We ensured the assessment of the new clinic was fast tracked whilst ensuring it complied with the stringent checks required to approve an ART clinic. This allowed Family Fertility Centre to be registered just 11 days after we received the application,” Minister Wade said.

“I commend the Family Fertility Centre for its quick response to find a solution for the parents who would otherwise have been left in limbo had the centre closed with no replacement.

“Many of the centre’s clients have already been waiting a long time to start a family and any disruption to their family planning process would have exacerbated that stress. It was important that we did what we could to minimise their anxiety.

“This is a fantastic Mother’s Day gift to the centre’s hopeful parents.”

Family Fertility Centre Medical Director Dr Marcin Stankiewicz said as IVF success rates climb and one in 25 Australian babies are now born via IVF, it was vital that his staff continued to provide this important service to meet the continuing care and treatment needs of their clients.

“Patients could have chosen other clinics to continue their treatment, but the majority wished to continue their treatment with current staff, most of whom will transfer to the new clinic,” Dr Stankiewicz said.

“The move has saved eight jobs, providing assurance to my employees and their families.

“More than 500 embryos – as well as any unfertilised eggs and sperm – can now be transported in liquid nitrogen to the new clinic by a specialist Dangerous Goods Transport company.

“In just three weeks, we have built a new $500,000 lab with state-of-the-art equipment, including a cutting-edge identification system that detects, monitors and tracks every step of an IVF cycle. Family Fertility Centre will be the first IVF clinic in South Australia to use radio-frequency identification (RFID) as part of a fully integrated system. The technology will ensure that only compatible samples are used and, through constant monitoring, the chance of human error in the IVF process will be reduced.

“We wish to thank the Minister, SA Health and everyone who has made this possible – as well as our patients for their understating and support.”

Family Fertility Centre will open on Thursday at Ashford Specialist Centre, 57-59 Anzac Highway, Ashford.

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