Being a pioneering company in the field of Assisted Reproduction, Trivector has many firsts to its credit. Besides being the first company to establish IVF labs in India, Trivector also launched India’s first Fertility Training School (2005) and first International Sperm Bank (2008). Since last 25 years we have been helping IVF labs in quality control and maintenance of equipment, says Dilip Patil, Managing Partner, Trivector Biomed LLP, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
Q With over two decades of experience in the IVF sector, kindly throw some light on this technology. How have you contributed to this field?
IVF, popularly known as test tube baby, was at its nascent stage when Trivector was launched in 1993. There were less than 10 IVF centers then. We started providing all the services and products under one roof. We started IVF training school in India for the first time. We did it in collaboration with Copenhagen University of Denmark for first couple of years.
Many clinicians used to travel to Germany, Singapore, and Denmark and other countries abroad for getting trained on IVF techniques. We brought those specialists from Europe to India to train Indian doctors and embryologists. The Indian trainees started getting same level of training here in India. Hundreds of participants have been trained so far in Trivector Fertility School.
We realised a need to have quality sperm banking services in India and launched India’s first international sperm bank (Baby Quest Cryobank) in 2008. It has been supplying quality sperm samples to clinics and patients all over India as per their requirements.
Trivector was the first company which started providing readymade culture media, CO2 Incubators, Air filtration towers, Controlled rate freezers, IVF workstations, Micromanipulators, Lasers for Assisted Hatching, Polscope etc. along with technical support to the new and established IVF clinics all across India. We made all the latest technologies immediately available for the Indian IVF community as they were launched elsewhere in the world.
Time-lapse incubation, which has gained currency recently, was launched first by us as in 2012. This special incubator allows embryos to be videographed and monitored continuously. Experts keep a tab of how the embryos are growing without having their physical presence in the labs. Growth of embryos can be monitored remotely and appropriate decision can be taken.
Trivector has helped set-up hundreds IVF labs in India. We have been consulting the labs on quality control and troubleshooting. We are helping them in measuring and monitoring the parameters which are important e.g. CO2 gas concentration, pH of the media, and temperature of the lab equipment. We calibrate and validate the performance of critical equipment and provide preventive maintenance services.
It was a turning point in Trivector’s journey when we joined hands with one of our Danish principals in 2012 as JV partner and subsequently parted our ways in 2015 to explore new challenges and reinvent ourselves exclusively under our own Trivector brand. In addition to Human IVF, we decided to diversify into Hospital Acquired Infection control, Veterinary IVF and specialized Andrology products.
Q What technologies have been recently launched by you to improve clinical treatment in IVF segment?
In tune with our philosophy of offering new products to add value to improve IVF outcome, we have recently launched a few innovative products. Novaerus Air Sterilisers: To grow healthy embryos in the lab which could lead to healthy babies, the air quality and the culture environment in the lab is of utmost importance. Microbial contamination, particulates, volatile organic compounds (VOC), and chemical air contaminants (CAC) are the culprits which are detrimental for embryo quality and treatment outcome.
VOCs, CACs and particulates need to be removed and surfaces need to be disinfected by sterilization. We have launched the most effective solution by way of a standalone Air Sterilizer which combines HEPA and Activated Carbon filtration with pathbreaking Plasma technology. This is the most effective and sustainable solution, (which is clinically tested by independent agencies like NASA) for the highest air quality which leads to better pregnancy rates and protect the IVF staff at the same time.
EmbryoSafe Disinfectants: We have also launched EmbryoSafe range of VOC free disinfectants for workbenches, surfaces, Incubators and floors which is based on Hypochlorous Acid which naturally occurs in the body as part of defence mechanism. These disinfectants work within five seconds and need no rinsing with sterile water. These products are MEA tested and CE marked.
EmbryoShield Gas line filter: We have also introduced a solution to improve the poor quality of gases entering into the culture Incubators from the cylinders. EmbryoShield, is a MEA tested unique inline gas filter with 0.1 micron HEPA/ULPA and activated carbon filtration.
Zymot Microfluidic based Sperm Selection Chips: Infertility attributed to Male factor is as rampant as Female factor. For Infertility treatment procedures, the sperm needs to be purified or washed to remove the debris and dead cells. To do so, the sperm are subjected to pipetting, mixing and vigorous centrifugation in the lab. These mechanical processes induce a reactive oxidative stress (ROS) and leads to DNA damage to the sperm. DNA damage is associated with failed fertilisation and/or possibly genetic defects in the offspring. To address this issue, we have launched Microfluidic-based sperm selection devices which are designed in Harvard Medical.
These devices which are also called ‘Lab-on-chip’, mimic the conditions of the female reproductive tract and allow the most healthy and motile sperms to reach the collection well, in a natural way, within 30 minutes. These champion sperms thus collected can be used for performing ICSI, IVF or IUI. There is no need of centrifugation, mixing or pipetting which avoids damage to the sperm and may lead to a healthier baby.
ColdStash Containers: With the advent of vitrification (rapid cooling) of reproductive cells, more and more labs are preserving the cells for future use. This obviously is leading to too many storage containers inside the IVF lab. In the space constrained labs in India, maintaining too many Liquid nitrogen containers has become a big issue. In association with Boston IVF, we have introduced a solution. We have specially designed containers in which you can store between two to five times more number of patients’ samples without sacrificing the lab space. This also saves on consumption of Liquid Nitrogen and the hassles associated with it.
Q How do you analyse the IVF market in terms of opportunity and challenges? Approximately one in six couples faces the problem of infertility. That translates to a couple of million couples who may need advanced infertility treatment in India.
Even with more than 1,000 IVF centers across India, the number of ART cycles performed annually is not more than 2,00,000. More and more corporate chains are establishing multiple IVF centers and the competition amongst clinics is increasing. The gap between infertile population and actual treatments needs to be bridged.
The IVF market in India is growing about 18-20% annually since last few years. But due to few bottle necks and uncertain policy framework , there is a certain limitation foreseen to a growth of IVF in coming years. High cost of treatment, absence of insurance cover, uncertainty in the treatment outcome combined with lack of definitive regulations, are a few key factors which need to be addressed. Trivector as a leading company in IVF is trying to address some of these issues through its activities and awareness initiatives.