TRNC clinic makes headlines after oldest mother of quads gives birth
A TRNC fertility clinic hit the headlines in Britain again this week as it was reported that Britain’s oldest mother of quads had given birth to the babies she conceived in North Cyprus — but another IVF centre is under investigation and risks being shut down for allegedly breaching a ban on gender selection.
Fifty-year-old grandmother Tracey Britten, who had IVF treatment at the Kolan British Hospital in Gönyeli in April, was reported to have
“made history” when her babies —twin girls, a girl and a boy — were born by caesarean section at London’s University College Hospital on October 26.
Thirty-five medical staff were involved in the delivery 31 weeks into Ms Britten’s pregnancy.
The first baby girl arrived at 10.03am weighing 2lb 2oz, the second girl — her identical twin — was born a minute later weighing 1lb 15oz, the third girl at 10.05am at 2lb 7oz and the boy at 10.07am weighing in at 3lb 10oz. Ms Britten and her partner have yet to decide on names.
The quads are being cared for in hospital but three are said to be breathing on their own while the smaller twin remains in an incubator due to a “digestion issue”. However Ms Britten hopes they could be home by Christmas.
“I only wanted one child and was blessed with four. It’s a miracle . . . I’m so grateful. I just can’t wait to get them home,” she said.
The Londoner already has three grown-up children with her first husband, from whom she split in 2003, and eight grandchildren. She reportedly paid for the IVF procedure with a £7,000 inheritance from her mother in a bid to have another child with current husband Stephen.
Embryos were implanted after her eggs were fertilised in a lab with sperm from her husband.
The pregnancy was investigated by the Health Ministry in the TRNC, where there is a legal limit of three for embryo transfers, but officials announced there had been no breach because one of the maximum three embryos had divided in the womb to make twins.
The Crown IVF Centre in Gazimağusa is now being probed however, after making headlines in a separate UK newspaper report which claimed one of its staff had told undercover reporters posing as customers that they could illegally arrange for them to choose the sex of their baby.
Musa Olgu, of the ministry’s Coordination Committee, told Cyprus Today they had worked with EU officials to ensure IVF regulations in North Cyprus would meet the bloc’s standards, and that even “speaking positively” about gender selection was against the law, “let alone the procedure itself”.
“If an investigation proves that the [clinic] actually spoke about this being legal, it could even lead to [it] being shut down completely.”
Mr Olgu said the board of the Coordination Committee had discussed the issue and agreed to ask the Gazimağusa centre — registered as UKCFA IVF Ltd — for its response to the allegation. If none was given, he said, contact would be made with the reporters on Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.
Dr Halil İbrahim Tekin, owner of the centre which was the first to open in the TRNC in 1999, said: “This is a very confusing issue which can be misunderstood very easily.
“Most of the time when people mention gender selection they actually want to find out which of the chromosomes are healthy or not.
“Many of the rules [surrounding IVF] are working against the centres in North Cyprus which are creating jobs and contributing to the economy.”
Fifty-year-old grandmother Tracey Britten, who had IVF treatment at the Kolan British Hospital in Gönyeli in April, with two of her new-born babies