Jerusalem plans international multi-institution fertility and genetics center for city

Mayor Barkat lets word slip out, but declines to say more.

By
April 15, 2015 10:21
2 minute read.
opening of a wing of gynecological clinics at Shaare Tzedek

Prof. Uzi Beller at opening of Shaare Tzedek Gynochology clinic. (photo credit: JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH)

A world center for fertility and genetics – performing treatments for infertile couples in Israel and to serve medical tourism from abroad, along with research – will be established in the capital, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

On Tuesday, the capital’s Mayor Nir Barkat spoke only a couple of sentences about the project, which has been kept under wraps. He spoke at a ceremony at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in which a wing of new gynecological clinics was opened on Tuesday.

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The wing was named for Barkai Yishai Shor, a 21-yearold soldier from Jerusalem who volunteered as a medic in his free time and was killed in last year’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. The ADAR foundation transferred to the hospital an $800,000 donation from an anonymous donor for building and equipping the clinics, which will serve women and girls from around the country on the ninth floor of SZMC’s new Next Generation Building.

Barkat said that two months ago, he, SZMC director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy and others went to Boston to plan the project, which will be carried out jointly by SZMC, Hadassah University Medical Centers and, for research, the Hebrew University’s life sciences department. The Post learned that Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus director-general Dr. Osnat Levtzion-Korach, Hadassah chairman Erez Meltzer and a representative of the Hebrew University department were among those present.

The group met for three days at Harvard University with Prof. Michael Porter of the business school to discuss the strategy for the unique project.

Israel has more in-vitro fertilization units per capita – one in nearly every general hospital – than any other country in the world, due to the desire of couples to have babies. Thus Israeli physicians and technicians have more expertise in fertility and genetic diagnosis than almost anywhere in the world.

In fact, SZMC delivers apparently more infants – 22,000 a year – than any other hospital in the world, a significant percentage of them for infertile couples who undergo IVF and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to ensure that the baby will not be born with serious defects.

Asked later for more information from the mayor, who spoke briefly for the first time about the project, his office turned down a phone interview, saying Barkat did not have time in his busy schedule to speak. The municipality will, on Jerusalem Day in a month, release an “organized statement” on the fertility center, and only then could city officials be interviewed about it, the spokesman’s office said.


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