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Gov’t Announces ‘National Human Reproduction Program’ to Help Infertile Couples

Péter Cseresnyés 2019.12.23.

The government has announced a comprehensive program to support infertile couples. As part of the measures, it acquired six fertility clinics and is making the fertility diagnostics, medications, and treatments free of charge and expects four thousand babies to be born by 2022.

In  November, hvg.hu wrote that a National Human Reproduction Program was under preparation. According to their information, it was aimed to combat male infertility.

However, according to the latest announcements and the decree published in Thursday’s official gazette, Magyar Közlöny, the Hungarian government wants to establish a more comprehensive program.

The government will increase the number of state-owned fertility treatment centers, while fertility diagnostics and the medications used during fertility treatment will also be free, the Minister of Human Resources said at a press conference in Budapest on Friday.

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According to Miklós Kásler, the government will establish a unified fertility care system, the National Human Reproduction Program, by July 1st. He then announced that the government will spend HUF 10.5 billion to establish a unified system, led by the National Institute for Human Reproduction.

The institute has a national competence, which, according to the Minister, means that it is the epidemiological, methodological, organizational, scientific, and educational center for this issue. Its role is to liaise with the authorities and to coordinate and manage the network activity of the fertility centers.

Miklós Kásler emphasized that the future of a nation always depends on the population; therefore, the government supports the improvement of the current conditions in many ways. It was thus decided to strongly support and standardize the treatment of infertility.

As a result of the measures, the government expects four thousand babies to be born by 2022.

There are 150,000 infertile couples in Hungary, which is a significant number, but this phenomenon can be observed not only in Hungary but worldwide, the minister said. He added that it is not simply a genetic problem, but a civilization problem, and that lifestyle is also a contributing factor.

On Thursday, state secretary for Family and Youth Affairs, Katalin Novák, announced that the government would also make the fertility medication and treatments free of charge.

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From Jan. 1st, the medication used during fertility treatments which are subsidized at present will be made free of charge, Novák said. Fertility exams will also be made free of charge, and limits on fertility clinic volume will be scrapped, eliminating long waiting periods, she added.

There are about 150,000 infertile couples in Hungary who want to have children, she said. If every couple in Hungary who wanted to have a child could, depopulation would no longer be a problem, she added.

In the meantime, the government also acquired six fertility clinics, four in Budapest, one in Szeged, and one in Tapolca.

According to the decree published in the latest issue of the official gazette, these are the Forgács Institute, Expecting Healthcare, Sterility Healthcare, Kaáli Out-patient Gynecology, Kaáli REK Reproduction Center and Pannon Reproduction Institute.

Rate of Population Decline Increases

From next year’s budget, the government has already approved HUF 3 billion, 355 million for the program, of which HUF 2 billion, 557 million will support health and preventive care, while HUF 798 million will be for medication subsidies, napi.hu writes.

According to the data by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, fewer and fewer children are born in Hungary every year. The most recent statistics show that 7,780 children were born in October, a few hundred less than in the previous month of last year. By the end of October, a total of 74,064 children had been born in Hungary, compared to 75,306 last year.

The government has long been aiming to halt population decline with many different measures and this program is their next step after the family protection action plan.

Featured photo by Tamás Sóki/MTI