IVF treatment in public hospitals needs time: experts

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PUNE In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment in private hospitals is expensive and poor couples cannot afford it as it costs more than one lakh rupees to complete one treatment. Multiple research studies have shown that infertility is increasing in both men and women of all economic classes. To make IVF accessible to everyone, it is essential to start treatment in public hospitals, experts say.

According to one study, lifestyle change and stress increased the rate of infertility. Today, 15 out of 100 couples suffer from infertility due to multiple reasons such as hybrid grains, dietary habits, alcoholism, weight gain and other reasons.

According to doctors, couples who do not conceive a child naturally despite regular sexual intercourse without contraceptives for more than a year are considered infertile, for those aged 35, this period is reduced to about six months. For these couples, IVF is a beacon of hope. However, as the cost is in lakhs, couples struggling with financial difficulties are unable to explore this option.

However, there is now a growing demand for these treatments to be available in public hospitals at affordable rates. In Pune, the two main hospitals where this IVF facility could be installed are at Sassoon General Hospital or Aundh District Civil Hospital. About two years ago, a proposal was sent by Sassoon General Hospital to the medical management to start IVF in the hospital. However, as no action has yet been taken, the proposal has been dropped, a chief medical officer at the hospital said. Dr Dilip Mhaisekar, Director of Medical Education Directorate, said: “The legal process of initiating IVF treatment requires study. After this procedure, it will be decided whether or not to start it in public hospitals.

Dr Sanjay Gupte, who heads the Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Pune, said: “There is a need to establish an IVF center in a government hospital as infertility is reported across all economic classes, however, the option of getting the treatment is only available among upper middle class or middle class couples. An IVF treatment can cost around 1 to 1.5 lakh in a private facility, the same could be half that in a government hospital at around 50,000. If an organization comes forward to start a facility in a government hospital under the PPP model, they would only need 1,500 to 200 square feet of space to set up the infrastructure, including the lab, and would cost approximately 70 lakh to set up all the infrastructure, but that would make the treatment very accessible to those who want to explore the option.

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