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IVF – A Light at the End of Tunnel for Childless

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IVF

India has come a long way since first ‘test tube’ baby Harsha Chawda was born in 1986. Lots of innovations and technological advancements have taken place since then, enhancing the scope for unhesitatingly utilising IVF techniques, writes Mukul Mishra for Elets news Network (ENN).

The landscape of healthcare ecosystem is expanding like never before, with technologies and innovations playing a strategic role in fostering change towards better health outcomes.

Modern techniques and latest medical equipments have made such things possible which were previously assumed to be nearly impossible.

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of such technique which has been instrumental in bringing back the lost smile on the face of millions of couples worldwide by bestowing them parenthood.

“India has a large number of couples who require assistance to conceive.  According to the ICMR Publication, approximately 1.8 million couples in the country need infertility treatment,” said Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, SCI IVF International Hospital.

IVF is a form of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs), others being Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) and Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET), which help biologically infertile women to conceive.

This artificial treatment process is turning out to be a big boon for all those couples who are faced with various kinds of medical problems and find it difficult to have a child of their own.

“Today there are treatment options and “having a baby is no longer an unfulfilled desire. Even though the emotional distress still lingers but hope is sparked by IVF,” said Dr K D Nayar, Chief Consultant Infertility, Akanksha IVF Centre.

“With time there is increasing trend in infertility and so in acceptance of treatment for the same. Now, more and more couples are accepting assisted reproduction techniques and enjoying the feeling of parenthood,” Nayar added.

How Does IVF Work?

It’s a modern artificial infertility treatment process. In this, eggs extracted from a prospective mother’s ovary are fused with the donor’s sperms in a specialised laboratory. The four-to-five step process takes place in the supervision of a team of expert embryologists.

In this treatment, doctors first stop natural menstrual cycle of a woman by giving her specific dose of medicine. This is followed by super-ovulation process where ovaries are activated to produce more healthy eggs. After that both eggs and sperms are fused in the laboratory in artificial condition and finally the resultant embryos are transferred back into the woman’s uterus.

 “Originally this process of fertilisation takes place in the fallopian tube of a woman. This is called in vivo fertilisation. After fertilisation, an embryo is formed which grows for four days in the fallopian tube and then it is transported through fallopian tube into the uterus or the womb where it grows into full-term baby in nine months,” Dr Gour said.

 “In IVF, this process takes place in a small dish outside the human body and embryos are transferred directly into the womb or the uterus thus bypassing the fallopian tube. It’s important to know that not all embryos grow into a child. Some stop developing at an early stage and the pregnancy does not continue and this is one of the major reasons why multiple embryos are transferred into the uterus in the IVF process”, Dr Gour added.

Innovations in Infertility Market

Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI)

It is one of the simplest forms of Assisted Reproductive Technology. Here the semen is collected from the male partner and is prepared in the lab and then inserted into the uterine cavity at the time of ovulation to facilitate fertilisation.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

This treatment process is used when problem arises due to male infertility factor. In ICSI, it involves an embryologist selecting a single sperm, removing the tail and then injecting it into the egg with the help of a micromanipulator. The resulting embryo is later transferred to the uterus for implantation.

PRP (Platelet-rich plasma)

The technique is used for patients with recurrent implantation failures and IVF failures because of the thin endometrium. PRP helps to naturally heal tissues and improves the quality and thickness of the endometrium.

IVM (in vitro maturation)

This procedure is used to help women with conditions like a polycystic ovarian disease to have children.

Growing Market of IVF

Lots of innovations and technological advancements have occurred since first ‘test tube’ baby Harsha Chawda was born in 1986. It opened a hug market for IVF technique.

According to the Research and Markets, the world market for IVF and IVF products will grow to $12.5 billion till 2022. The Indian market of IVF is also growing by leaps and bounds. As per Allied Market Research (AMR), the In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) service market in India is projected to reach $775.9 million by 2022.

Causes of Infertility

There are many factors including busy lifestyle in cities, late marriages and delayed pregnancy, decline in egg and sperm quality, which contribute to rising rates of infertility. In addition, pollution, smoking habit, mobile phone use and stress also increase pregnancy related issues.

“The market has picked up steam in recent years due to rising prevalence of infertility and related conditions and the rising disposable income of consumers. The increasing social acceptance of assisted reproductive technology has also aided the global market for the same, which is likely to exhibit rapid progress in the coming years,” Nayar said.

Gauri Agarwal, Director, Seeds of Innocence, says more and more couple are availing IVF treatment to attain parenthood. The reason being that people are now aware about this latest technology and its high success rate.

“Couples in the cities are much aware of this treatment due to easy access to fertility clinics. The assurance and success rates of good IVF clinics tempt couple to opt for their services,” Agarwal said.

In India women are often blamed for not bearing child but the truth of the matter is infertility can affect men and women alike. “Literacy has helped the couples to understand that infertility is not related to women only, but it affects the male in equal percentage and hence men are also coming up for the treatment and opting IVF,” Agarwal further stated.

According to Dr Rajalaxmi Walavalkar, Consultant, IVF and Reproductive Surgery, Cocoon Fertility, the IVF market in India is a very fast growing market.

“There is a need for increased awareness in the population, both about infertility and about the availability of treatments and a need to de-stigmatize infertility.”

Shivani Sachdev Gour, SCI IVF International Hospital, believes that medical tourism in the country for fertility treatment is also on the rise due to latest innovations on this front.

“India has foreign trained highly skilled doctors to provide best IVF treatment. Here, fertility treatments are available at very competitive prices and that is why many more people visit the country to access the facility,” Gaur stated.

Challenges

Despite IVF playing a pivotal role by bringing a bundle of joy to dejected couple, this modern treatment technique has many challenges associated with it. In rural parts of India, couples don’t seek medical advice despite facing ignominy of infertility for years.

In addition, the IVF treatment also considered as emotionally stressful and financially demanding.

“Coping with the emotional challenges of infertility can be difficult for couples. Infertility is a social problem affected by various factors like accessibility, availability and knowledge. More stressful is the task of decision-making in seeking fertility treatment,” Nayar said.

“The high cost of IVF treatment not covered under any insurance policy also creates problem. The financial status of people at large is a great hindrance in treatment,” Agarwal said.

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