Updated: August 27, 2021 4:08:36 pm
With the inauguration of two new centres, infertility clinics chain Indira IVF has crossed a major milestone of establishing 100 centres across India. It has 17 centres in Maharashtra, including one in Pune, while the newest additions are in UP’s Sultanpur and Bathinda, Punjab. “The first single-specialty infertility treatment chain in India to have 100 fertility centres under its banner, we have had 85,000 successful IVF pregnancies so far,” Dr Kshitiz Murdia, CEO & Co-Founder of Indira IVF told The Indian Express.
How have Assisted Reproductive Technology procedures helped to deal with infertility?
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is an umbrella term used for interventions that are available for the treatment of infertility. Today, ART has improved manifold compared to a few decades ago when the success of a treatment cycle depended on chance. Now with various checkpoints in ART protocols, the option with the best possible outcome can be zeroed down on, thus reducing risk and increasing probability of conception.
For instance, when the first test tube baby Louise Brown was born in 1978, her mother was injected with hormones to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs, the mature eggs were then retrieved and fertilised with sperm on a petri dish, and the developed embryo was placed inside the uterus. With the streamlining of the procedure – from selecting the best-suited treatment plan, choosing the best gametes to ensuring quality control to aid fertilisation, testing embryos for genetic anomalies and finally implantation – ART procedures now see more success than ever.
What kind of myths and superstitions prevail on the matter at present?
Some common myths include:
(1) Infertility is only related to one’s reproductive health and does not impact overall health. However, experts have found that infertility exists due to underlying health conditions that one may have.
(2) Sexually transmitted and urinary infections are not linked to infertility. In reality, infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to complications in one’s fertility.
(3) There are no tests to detect male infertility. In fact, there are numerous interventions to test problems in the male factor, including quality and quantity of sperms.
(4) Women are unable to get pregnant after 35 years. While conceiving naturally after 35 years can be difficult, it is still possible with medical intervention and counselling. Male fertility has also been found to decline with age, but it is not as drastic as with females.
(5) Women with conditions such as PCOS are unable to conceive. However, with healthy changes in one’s lifestyle and with the help of doctors, it is possible to beat the condition and have children.
(6) Priests and traditional healers can help cure infertility – the most dreadful of all myths. This will only delay a corrective medical measure, further increasing complications.
What is being done to dispel these myths?
Indira IVF has implemented the ‘Nisantanata Bharat Chhoro’ campaign which has held over 2,100 awareness camps in 24 Indian states and educated more than 65,000 couples so far. Having now grown to 100 clinics with over 50 per cent presence in Tier-2 and Tier-3 centres, we seek to uproot these misconceptions and better the lives of couples who aspire to become parents.
What has been the most challenging case?
Each couple brings with them their own set of challenges. One such critical case was that of the successful treatment of an infertile couple with advanced assisted reproductive technique and intrauterine foetal therapy in a rare case of acardiac twins (where one foetus is severely malformed but draws blood from the other normal foetus). The procedure at our facility helped save the normal baby’s life and was carried out at 14 weeks and 2 days gestation.
In another instance, after 20 long years of marriage and six unsuccessful IVF attempts, a couple from Dehradun was blessed with a child after treatment at our centre. Upon examination, it was found that the female partner had two pathways or tracts to enter her womb. Of those, the larger opening was the false tract, and the other, a small and hidden true tract. With team work and perseverance of the couple, a healthy baby was finally delivered.
What are your future plans?
We are currently investing in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). This technology enables us to chart out the best treatment plan for our patients by studying the case with a database of other patients. It also empowers the embryologist to choose the best embryos for implantation with AI-based embryo grading.
It works by comparing time-lapse images of embryos from the current cycle vis-à-vis a database of thousands of others from previous cycles. This brings more standardisation to a procedure that has so long been performed manually.
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