KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — The government intends to produce more experts in the field of fertility in an effort to make the country one of the medical tourism and fertility treatment destinations in the region.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the establishment of the Advance Reproductive Centre (ARC) at the Hospital Canselor Tunku Mukhriz of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) as the first oncofertility reference centre in Malaysia, was seen as a good start.
“The fertility industry is one of the top three areas in the medical health tourism industry, apart from cardiovascular (heart treatment) and oncology (cancer).
“The government welcomes this first reference centre in Malaysia which also provides conservation services or ovarian tissue freezing. In this regard, we recommend that the university not only produce talents in the field of oncofertility but also scientists who can be involved in the field of genetics and fertility.
He said this in a press conference after the launch of the Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation (OTC) Association and the naming of the Advance Reproductive Centre (ARC) as the first oncofertility reference centre in Malaysia at the Tuanku Ja’afar Education Complex, here today.
ARC was previously known as the Medical Assisted Conception (MAC) Unit and it started from a small unit that provided artificial insemination services in 1993 before offering and providing infant tube testing services in 1997.
The MAC unit was later upgraded in 2011 as one of the hospital’s centres of excellence and in the last three years, the centre has on average carried out between 300 to 350 test tube baby cycles and 300 artificial insemination cases.
In his speech, Adham said the ovarian tissue freezing service — Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation — was a new service in Malaysia and the launch was the best step before being introduced holistically in the country.
Adham said OTC services are very important for a woman suffering from cancer to be able to reuse ovarian tissue after completing cancer treatment such as chemotherapy.
Commenting on the proposal by Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah to increase the fine for offences under Act 342 (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988) from the current rate of RM1,000 to RM10,000, he said the matter would be discussed first.
“We will consider the public’s opinion before it is brought to the cabinet for discussion,” he said. — Bernama