Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Hospital offers free fertility treatment


IPOH: Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (RPBH) is offering free and subsidised fertility treatment services.

"The treatment, which includes IUI (intrauterine insemination) and medication, is free," said the hospital's fertility specialist Dr Tham Seong Wai.

"It is open to all couples regardless of their financial status."

He said there were some misconceptions about fertility treatment, including that the fees were hefty, chances of success were slim and it was unnatural.

In fact, he said, procedures such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and IUI had been proved to be safe, was effective and was not a privilege reserved for the rich.

Dr Tham said RPBH was one of five hospitals in the country that offered low-cost fertility treatment.

He said the hospital also provided IVF treatment at a subsidised cost.

"We started providing IVF treatment in April 2008, and have been conducting IUI as well as giving time coitus advice since 1987," he said.

He said the scheme was meant to give childless couples, who did not have the financial means, the chance to go for fertility treatment.

Dr Tham, who is also the secretary of the National Assisted Reproductive Technique Committee, said private clinics and hospitals could charge as much as RM16,000 to RM20,000 for IVF procedures.

"But with the government subsidy, the fees are reduced to between RM5,500 and RM6,500," he said.

To be eligible for the subsidised IVF treatment, he said, couples must not have any child from their present marriage or undergone IVF three or more times.

The female partner should be under 43.

In 2009, more than 1,500 couples underwent fertility treatment at the hospital. More than 200 of them sought the IVF procedure

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