Infertility is emerging as a serious cause of concern especially amongst the urban populace in India. According to AIIMS, about 10-15 per cent of couples in India are said to have fertility issues. To understand how advanced healthcare like ART is helping patient with Infertility issues and the future of IVF in India, Shruti Jain of Elets News Network (ENN) interacted with Dr. Rita Bakshi, Founder, RISAA IVF.
What is ART? How is ART helping patient with Infertility issues?
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is a technique of assisting the couples to conceive and fulfil their dream of having a baby. It is the biggest revolution in the field of infertility. ART includes fertility treatments that handle both, a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm out. The said technology treats infertility by means of procedures such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination, and surrogacy. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common and effective type of ART. ART techniques involve the manipulation of eggs, sperm, or embryos to increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
A bill has recently been passed in Lok Sabha for the regulation of ART clinics. What are your thoughts on this? What kind of changes will it bring to the IVF industry?
The Government had been working on the bill to regulate the ART industry since 2008. The bill was first time introduced in Sept 2020 in Lok Sabha which finally go the nod from the government in Dec 2021. The bill seeks to regulate and supervise Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) clinics and ART banks, prevent misuse, adopt safe and ethical practice and so on.
While the bill aims at regulating the unlawful and unethical practices being adopted by various unregulated ART Clinics by standardizing protocols, it also aims at protecting women and children. It aims to support the protect the oocyte (a cell in an ovary) donor needs by an insurance cover. It will also make sure that Multiple embryo implantation needs to be regulated and children born through ART need to be protected. It further seeks stringent punishment for those practicing sex selection, sale of human embryos or gametes, or found running agencies, rackets and organizations for such practices in violation of the law.
However, it also prohibits commercial surrogacy in India and only allows altruistic surrogacy which has been defined in the bill as surrogacy in which no money or remuneration except medical expenses are provided for the surrogate mother by the couple. Also, further restricting the option of surrogacy to only cis-heterosexual couples is problematic as it excludes the availability of surrogacy to single persons and the LGBTQIA+ community. An estimate suggests that about 20 per cent of all surrogacy cases in India comprise single men and women. “This is a non-progressive step and needs to be examined and addressed. Rights to access this technology should be available to them too.
The technology of ART is great and provides success stories but there is scope of improvement in the newly passed bill of ART. The bill needs to be practical in approach, so that it can be embraced by the willing people without any hesitation
How would you describe your journey as an IVF specialist? What were the challenges being faced during your span introducing the IVF treatment to the patient?
The IVF treatment has come a long way and has seen substantial growth past many years. The boundaries of what is possible with IVF and fertility treatment are constantly being expanded. The mission for any IVF expert remains the same, to give everyone who dreams of being a parent the opportunity to eventually hold their healthy, happy baby in their arms.
Women have faced higher stigma on a number of levels when conceiving does not happen naturally. However, we need to understand infertility is no one’s fault. In fact, men and women are equally responsible. “One-third of cases are down to the male, one-third attributable to the female, and the rest are either both sides or with causes unknown. It is just a medical condition like asthma and should be treated with the same scientific approach.
“It can be a challenging subject to discuss which is why we need to have open and honest conversations with friends and family around fertility to normalize the conversation and make sure anyone interested in accessing fertility services, can do so feeling fully supported at every stage.” — Says Dr. Rita Bakshi, Founder, Rissa IVF
How could ART pave the way for infertile patients? How will the ART regulation bring transparency to the industry?
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) has turned out to be the boon for those failing to conceive naturally. ART has grown exponentially in the last few years and is now more and more available to infertile couples in both developed and developing countries. India is poised to be the leader in the world of ART with increasing rate of infertility favoring rapid growths in the number of ART centers and the ART cycles performed annually.
The new ART regulation bill passed in Lok Sabha is to “regulate” and “supervise” assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinics and surrogacy and will ensure curb of unethical practices related to issues like sex selection and exploitation of surrogate mothers by imposing both monetary penalty and jail terms for violations. With the inclusion of institutions like new National and State ART and Surrogacy Boards, as well as a National ART and Surrogacy Registry, to advise the government on regulation and policy matters, a database of the ART treatments undertaken across the country will be maintained to ensure transparency in such matters.
What is the future medical technology in the IVF industry by 2024?
The in-vitro fertilization market is expected to register a CAGR of 8% by 2024. The industry has seen impressive growth in recent times. Increasing awareness, rising success rates of IVF, and disorders due to the delayed onset of pregnancy are fostering the demand for in vitro fertilization techniques across the world.
The rate of delayed pregnancies in women beyond the age of 35 years has been increasing rapidly. The Delay in pregnancy is a major cause of infertility. Infertility and many pregnancy related complications are due to delayed pregnancies. It has been estimated that the global average fertility rate, currently, is around 2.5%, and a major reason attributed to this is delayed pregnancies. The increasing rate of delayed pregnancy is encouraging couples for adoption of IVF techniques.
The IVF culture media is required in every IVF procedure. Semen processing media, ovum processing media, cryopreservation media, and embryo culture media are the major culture media types used during IVF procedures. Fertility centers across the globe are using the latest generation of culture media to maximize the success of the procedure.
Furthermore, market players are continuously launching improved versions of their culture media, which, in turn, is leading to the growth of the segment. IVF Devices Market to Grow Over $ 320 Million During 2020-2024
As per the estimates of the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ICMART), the number of children conceived by assisted reproduction technologies (ART) has crossed five million, thus foreseeing a bright future of the IVF industry by 2024.