TRNC clinic makes head­lines af­ter old­est mother of quads gives birth

Cyprus Today - - FRONT PAGE - By YASEMIN GÜLPINAR

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

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