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India: A Growing Destination for Infertility Treatments

Updated on May 25, 2016

India- A Growing Destination for Infertility Treatments

Infertility occurs when a couple are unable to conceive a child after more than a year of actively trying to do so. As reported by an article on the eshre.eu website, infertility can be due to some problems in the reproductive system of either the male or the female. In fact, 20 to 30% of infertility cases are explained by physiological causes in men, 20 to 35% by physiological issues in women, and 25 to 40% due to infertility problems in both the partners. Assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be tried in case other interventions such as medication, surgery, or artificial insemination don’t work.

IVF involves harvesting the eggs of the woman after giving her hormones for the stimulation of the egg-producing eggs, placing the eggs in a petri dish in the lab along with the sperm, and then placing the eggs back in the woman’s uterus once they have been fertilized and turned into embryos. Sometimes, this may not work due to deformities in the sperm. In that case, the sperm is injected into the egg using a thin, hollow glass needle; this is called intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI.

The success rate of ICSI treatment is the same as that of IVF. According to an article on the hfea.gov.uk website, the success rate is 32.2% for women under the age of 35, and progressively falls as the woman’s age increases; the rate goes down to 13.6% for women in the 40-42 age group. As an article on the official website of Rainbow Hospitals states, the best time to conceive a child is between the ages of 17 to 35; as the woman crosses 35, the chances of infertility become stronger.

Global Market for IVF

IVF is one of the most commonly used assisted reproductive technologies. According to an article on news.sys-con.com, the IVF market is estimated to be worth USD 1.49 billion in 2015. The IVF market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20.9% from 2015 to 2022, and reach USD 5.66 billion by 2020. Various factors are responsible for this growing trend. One reason is the increase in egg donations by women, which enable women unable to produce their own eggs to use these donated eggs to become pregnant. Other reasons include technological advances in the IVF treatment procedure, delayed pregnancies by women looking to establish themselves in their careers first, a trend of growing infertility rates, rising disposable incomes, and an increase in general awareness regarding infertility treatments such as IVF.

Infertility Clinics in India

According to an article in the Times of India, infertility clinics in India grew at the rate of 15% annually between 2010 and 2012, as per data collected by the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR). According to Dr Hrishikesh Pai, the president of ISAR, the numbers don’t indicate an increase in infertility in India; rather, there has been an increase in many new techniques for using frozen embryos or for embryos with donated eggs, and for surrogates. A majority of the Indians opting for assisted reproductive techniques, nearly 64%, preferred to get pregnant using fresh embryos. However, the data also show an almost 66% increase in the use of frozen embryos in the three-year period of the study. "This indicates that technologies for frozen embryo transfer are improving and patients are opting for frozen transfers without compromising their results," said Dr Pai. There has also been an increase in the number of couples seeking surrogacy of 44% from 2010 to 2012. Dr Duru Shah, former ISAR president, noted that, "Many celebrities have spoken up about using surrogates. This has resulted in many Indian couples opening up to the idea of surrogacy, which until recently was only sought after by foreigners". The infertility clinics in India offer the option of the ICSI procedure along with IVF, and all the other related procedures.

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