Govt approach to infertility needs finetuning: Experts
Though infertility rate in the State and the country has gone up by at least 50 per cent since the 1980s, the government focus on the issue and also the number of trained doctors has not seen a rise, say doctors in the City.
“While there is no documentation to show the increase, the growing number of centres for In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and the couples frequenting these is a clear indication that there is an increase in infertility cases,” said Dr Hema Divakar, president of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI).
She was speaking at an event organised by Asian Research and Training Institute for Skill Transfer (Artist) on the occasion of Mothers’ Day.
Doctors from the City and IVF experts from abroad, who attended the programme, said doctors needed to be trained properly.
“Doctors need to be empowered and educated in advanced techniques so that they are more competent and can provide the patients cost-effective treatment,” she said.
‘Cost needs to reduce’
IVF treatment is a costly affair with the rate going up to Rs 10 lakh sometimes. The doctors said there were many ways of bringing this down. Dr Siladitya Bhattacharya, Professor of Reproductive Medicine at the University of Aberdeen, said, “There needs to be change at many levels. There is a lot of time and money that get wasted in fertility treatments. The numerous visits to the doctors sap the couples emotionally and financially. Both of these are related and can come down. Not all patients need the same mode of treatment. The doctors need to know the requirements of the patients and then chart out a treatment plan.”
The expensive IVF treatment makes many patients look at it more as a burden. Dr Madhuri Patil, a private doctor, said efforts need to be made to change this.
“We have constantly been asking insurance companies to include IVF treatment under the insurance cover. But, they have been refusing to listen to us.” Dr Bhattacharya said in most Western countries, IVF treatment was included in the government health plans.
“The National Health Service pays for most IVF treatments. They have eligibility criteria according to the age of women and the number of children the couple already has,” he said.
In addition to not properly regulating the thriving number of IVF centres in the country, the government has also not paid enough attention to the issue of growing infertility among men and women.
Rural areas need attention
“There are schemes for malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases, but the focus on infertility is very low. Sadly, the issue does not have much priority in the government list,” said Dr Divakar.