Large global fertility center planned on Jeju

Jeju National University is planning to open a fertility center for both Koreans and Chinese visitors on the scenic island early next year.

Prof. Park Se-pill of the university, who leads the project, said Sunday that Jeju is the perfect place for such a facility because foreigners can stay on the island for 30 days without visa.

“Benefiting from Korea’s advanced in-vitro fertilization (IVF) technology, we will be able to help Chinese visitors in need of medical services. From the perspective of incoming Chinese visitors, Jeju would be preferable to the peninsula because they don’t have to go through the hassle of getting a visa,” Park said.

“In consideration of the fact that millions of Chinese enter Jeju every year, the global fertility center will also boost medical tourism in the country. Of course, Koreans or other foreigners can take advantage of the center as well.”

In particular, Park expects that more Chinese will make use of Korea’s IVF technology as China has recently abolished its one-child policy.

As far as fertility treatment and IVF are concerned, Korea boasts one of the best success rates in the world.

Park is a renowned doctor in the field who previously headed treatments at the Seoul-based fertility hospital Maria Biotech. The 55-year-old doctor is also a well known embryologist.

Last year, a total of 6.11 million Chinese visited Korea and of those 2.24 million went to Jeju.

There are a few fertility clinics in Jeju, but they are small ones.

“For the facility, we recruited respected experts including Prof. Chung Hyung-min of Konkuk University,” said Park who joined the university in 2006.

Prof. Chung is a biomedical scientist who has also gained global notoriety in the IVF field and stem cell research. He led a Konkuk University research group on new stem cell-based drug development which was selected as a government-backed project last year.

“Recently, we explained the detailed plan to heads of public institutions here and we will soon have a session with investors. The fertility center is more about technology than money. In that sense, we have a head start since we have already set up a dream team,” he said.

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