Fertility treatment at Hungarian state-run clinics will be provided free of charge, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday, January 9th, a latest measure aimed at stemming demographic decline."The government has decided that from February 1st medications used in fertility treatment will be free of charge," Orban told a news conference in Budapest, AFP has reported. In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment in the future "will no longer be market-based,"he said.
The government announced last month that it was purchasing six private fertility clinics, four in the capital Budapest and two outside.Orban said the clinics had been "acquired" not "nationalised" as they were purchased rather than taken over from their owners.
The Prime Minister also described fertility clinics as entities of "of national strategic importance," advising private firms against investing in such activity as "they will not get permits."
The decision is the most recent in a series of measures introduced by the Hungarian government including financial incentives to encourage couples to have more children.
In the 9.8 million population Central European country, fewer and fewer children are born every year, according to official data. What escalated the problem is that hundreds of thousands of Hungarians have also emigrated to western Europe in the last decade. The fertility drive is hoped to lead to 4,000 births by 2022, a minister said in December.
The hardline anti-immigration Orban has rejected migration as a solution to Europe's demographic woes, such as shrinking populations. Orban said that infertility testing will be free for women and men as of July 1st, 2020, and that "there will be no waiting lists for infertility treatment in the future,” according to Euronews.com.