IVF (In-vitro- fertilisation) has evolved as a profit-generating industry. India is the third-largest consumer of IVF treatment in the world after China and Japan. Today, it does somewhere around 2,50,000 cycles annually in over 1,750 IVF centres. Each cycle averages at around 2,500 dollars, which makes the current industry size to be about 625 million dollars. With this growing pace, India has the potential to become the world’s capital for IVF treatment in next couple of years.
India has a large concentration of young adults, and the population has been observed to have a comparatively higher urge of parenthood. However, research states that nearly 22 to 33 million couples in the reproductive age are suffering from lifetime infertility.
Women account for 40 to 50 per cent of infertility among infertile couples, while men account for 30 to 40 per cent. To top it, various factors like changing lifestyle and a huge number of sub-fertile population contribute to the increased demand for infertility treatments.
IVF is suitable for various individuals and couples facing specific challenges in conceiving a baby naturally, including couples with infertility, women with tubal damage or blockage, age-related infertility or unexplained infertility.
Ultimately, IVF provides hope and an opportunity for parenthood to those struggling with fertility challenges – making it a widely used and successful assisted reproductive technology.
While IVF involves several steps, including fertility medications, egg retrieval, fertilisation and embryo transfer, the overall process is not excessively long. It typically takes a few weeks and some clinics offer a “fast-track” approach for selected patients– shortening the timeline.
Majority of research looking into the success of IVF does not state how long couples have been trying to conceive and many countries do not collect data that shows infertility duration.
Extended IVF use increases the risk of harm to both the mother and offspring.
There are apprehensions surrounding the long-term health of children born through IVF. Experts note that these children may have higher blood pressure, adiposity, glucose levels and more generalized vascular abnormalities, compared with children who are conceived naturally.
These effects seem to be related to the IVF procedure itself rather than to underlying sub fertility.
Couples should be warned about these potential risks before undergoing IVF, particularly if they have a reasonable chance of conceiving naturally.
(Dr Naresh Purohit is Advisor for National Reproductive and Child Health Programme (RCH) -Executive Member of the Federation of Reproductive Health Services – India (FRHS – India. The views expressed here are of the author)