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New fertility clinic opens in Dublin
Updated: 13:52, Tuesday, 17 January 2012
Hundreds of couples trying for a baby are expected to attend the new clinic
A new private fertility clinic has opened in Ireland which provides a treatment to identify embryos at risk of carrying an inherited disorder, prior to implantation.
Beacon Care Fertility in Sandyford in Dublin has been built at a cost of €2.5 million.
It hopes to treat hundreds of couples, many of whom currently travel to Britain for the treatment called Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).
The treatment uses specialist probes individually designed for the patient, who may be at risk of passing on a devastating inherited disorder.
Fertility specialist Dr Simon Fishel said that PGD allows the clinic to screen eggs or early placental cells before the embryo goes back in the womb, to see if a genetic condition is being carried.
If this is the case, experts will try to have an embryo free of genetic disease to assist reproduction.
There are around nine assisted human reproduction clinics in Ireland, with most operating in the private sector.
The Beacon Clinic will also provide newer treatments available elsewhere in Ireland which reduce the risk of a further miscarriage and which can provide a better freeze-thaw survival rate for frozen eggs.
Reproductive immunology helps women who miscarry, or do not achieve embryo implantation in the womb, because their immune system rejects it.
Screening for chromosome anomalies is also provided as this is the biggest cause of embryo failure.
New time-lapse imaging technology allows experts to watch the cells of an embryo develop over days and will show if the embryo is not viable, which occurs in around 70% of cases.
Unlike most of Europe, Ireland has no legislation in the area of assisted human reproduction, although there are Medical Council guidelines in place and established clinical practice.
The 2005 Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction report recommended legislation and a body to regulate this complex sector.
No date is yet available from the Government for the publication of promised legislation.
Dr Fishel said there was a degree of regulation in Ireland.
He said that in Britain the area was heavily regulated and it was up to the Government and Irish people to determine how much regulation is needed here.
He said it was important that pregnancy rates issued by clinics were genuine and that they were audited.