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Growing acceptance of IVF in India

Increased awareness and availability of services has led to the exponential growth in the industry, believes Dr Sahil Gupta, Founder, Aveya Fertility and IVF Centre

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There is a rise in infertility among married couples and according to a MedTech study, by 2020, around 30 million couples in India will not be able to reproduce children. There are a number of factors responsible for rising infertility among couples, including hormonal changes (especially in prolactin levels), polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, genital TB, job pressures and vehicular pollution. Further, lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes further worsen the problem. Besides, many sociocultural changes like increased average age of marriage among urban couples and planning their first child in 30s and sometimes in 40s are somehow escalating infertility among Indian couples. Smoking, alcohol consumption, anabolic steroids and cancer-suppressing medicines too increase the chances of infertility in both the genders.

Negligence is the foremost cause of infertility in rural India. Most of the times, rural women were facing infertility because of genital infections such as tuberculosis. So, timely diagnosis of tuberculosis and other pelvic inflammatory diseases is a must to fight infertility among rural people. Besides, increasing use of fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture and horticulture are the prime causes of declining fertility in villagers. Even now, the people in rural parts are hesitant to seek advice on infertility. Awareness campaigns are needed to educate them about the increasing infertility and the necessity to seek expert advice.

In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is one of the most effective solutions to deal with fertility issues and country’s urban populace is now getting aware of it. Already known as the global hub of medical tourism because of advanced medical infrastructure and quality hospitalisation at more affordable price than other developed countries, foreign couples are visiting India to avail IVF services. This has also led the investors coming to put their money on the lucrative IVF industry of India.

Valued at $478.2 million in 2018 and expected to reach $1,453.0 million by 2026, Indian IVF market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.6 per cent from 2016 to 2022. There has been an increase in number of IVF centres in the country among the youth. The largest share in IVF industry is the female fertility segment due to rise in female fertility-related diseases such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, ovulation disorders, damage associated with fallopian tubes, etc. However, the male fertility segment is expected to grow faster as there is an increase in awareness regarding male infertility.

The biggest issue in the Indian society was the understanding of the problem and the perception that only women can have infertility. In many cases, it is noticed that women visit infertility clinics whereas both the partners should be doing so and this scenario is changing.

The rise in the IVF industry can also be attributed to the increasing accessibility of IVF-related services such as IVF programmes, infertility treatment, egg donation, intracytoplasmic sperm donation and sperm injection (ICSI), amid others.

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