Nova Vita, Estonia’s first private clinic for infertility treatment, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Founded in 1995, the clinic has laid the foundation for the rapid development of Estonian reproductive medicine and has kept Estonian infertility treatment at the leading-edge. Together with Nova Vita, a test tube baby, born as a result of the clinic’s first successful procedure, will soon celebrate its 25th birthday.
The first in vitro fertilisation procedure, which was performed in a newly opened infertility clinic in 1995, immediately proved to be successful – the patient in whom the embryo was transplanted became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy child. This was the second successful in vitro fertilisation attempt in Estonia.
“It was a great success, which undoubtedly gave impetus to the further development of the whole field”, said Doctor Peeter Karits, Specialist in Reproductive Medicine at Nova Vita. “Estonian reproductive medicine has developed incredibly quickly from the very beginning. Local clinics were pioneers in the field in the Baltic countries and quickly rose to a world class level”, Karits added.
Other infertility treatment options were soon introduced in the clinic. As a result of the efforts of Doctor Peeter Karits and Professor Andres Salumets, who is the Research and Development Director at Nova Vita, the first child conceived using the ICSI method was born in 1996 in the Baltics. Then the skills and conditions needed to freeze embryos were added. Currently, many new possibilities have been added to the clinic, such as embryo diagnostics, which contribute to ruling out genetic diseases. A major contribution has also been made to the development of sperm and egg donation.
Excellent results ensured by a high-tech laboratory
From the very beginning, the introduction of high-level technological solutions has been considered important in Estonian reproductive medicine. The Nova Vita IVF laboratory was the first in Estonia and the entire Baltics to purchase all of the new equipment required for laboratory work at once – the best equipment used in infertility treatment. ‘It was an extremely bold investment at that time – the whole field was still in its infancy in Estonia, but we were able to start with a state-of-the-art IVF laboratory, which was also ultra-modern compared to the rest of the world,’ said Professor Salumets, who was one of the first cell biologists in the field of artificial insemination in Estonia.
A state-of-the-art IVF laboratory with the necessary equipment, know-how, and staff also ensures the effectiveness of infertility treatment. Currently, the treatment results of the Nova Vita clinic are higher than the European average. The European average infertility treatment rate per treatment cycle was around 38 per cent in 2019, with 51 per cent of pregnancies in patients up to 34 years of age at the Nova Vita clinic in the same year.
Infertility treatment has become available
In the early years, the in vitro fertilisation procedure was available to a limited number of people in Estonia due to its high cost. Today, this situation has changed – the state compensates for the treatment of infertility to a large extent, including both medicinal products and procedures. Patients can also repeat the treatment, if necessary, with the support of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. This means that Estonia is among the first countries in the world where people have access to infertility treatment.
“Thanks to state support, in vitro fertilisation procedures are now available to almost all Estonian women who have failed to have children naturally”, said Chairman of the Management Board of Nova Vita, Associate Professor Pekka Sillanaukee. “What was a new and relatively elite field of medicine at that time has now become a completely standard treatment that is accessible to all who need it. There have been many developments since 1995, and Nova Vita is now one of the best infertility clinics in Europe.”
Estonia has also shown way in the world with its liberal regulation. Unlike many other countries, both insemination and in vitro fertilisation are equally available to all women in Estonia, regardless of their social background. There are also no long queues in Estonia for the treatment of infertility compared to other specialist care.
The Nova Vita clinic is an infertility treatment clinic located in Tallinn, which has helped thousands of Estonian families have children already for twenty years. Since its establishment, Nova Vita has considered it important to contribute to the development of infertility treatment technologies. The clinic’s staff has participated in several research studies, as a result of which several innovations have entered clinical use, improving both the effectiveness and quality of infertility treatment. Since 2017, Nova Vita has been a member of the OVUMIA chain of fertility clinics, which, in addition to the clinic located in Tallinn, includes IVF clinics in Helsinki, Tampere, and Jyväskylä. As of today, more than 14,000 children have been born with the assistance of these clinics.
Professor Andres Salumets
Research and Development Director of the Nova Vita / OVUMIA Group Infertility Clinics
Associate Professor Pekka Sillanaukee
Head of the Nova Vita / OVUMIA Group Infertility Clinics