Friday, July 18, 2014

Low cost IVF treatment in developing countries

" The unmet need in developing countries is higher still. That is partly because people have less money, but also because infertility is more common. Genital mutilation, unsafe abortion and poorly attended births cause infections that leave women with blocked Fallopian tubes, making normal conception impossible. Sexually transmitted diseases scar both men’s and women’s reproductive systems. The World Health Organisation estimates that around 50m couples worldwide have been trying to conceive for at least five years without success. Almost none of those in developing countries can hope to get treatment.

The grief of infertility is sharper in poor countries, too. In Africa and much of Asia it carries a stigma, nearly all borne by women. Male-factor infertility is rarely acknowledged except when a man has failed to father children with several women. A “barren” wife is often ostracised, beaten or abandoned, or infected with HIV/AIDS as a result of her husband straying in the hope of a child. She is at higher risk of being murdered or committing suicide."

India has a great opportunity to become a market leader in the low cost IVF  field. Unfortunately, IVF is still not provided in teaching hospitals and medical colleges ( who can afford to provide it at a fraction of the cost which private IVF clinics charge).  Not only is this unfair on poor patients, it's also means that the new generation of gynecologists has no hands-on experience in providing IVF treatment. This means that when they start practise, if they want to start doing IVF ( as so many want to these days), they are forced to attend a 7-day workshop. While this gives them a "certificate", it also means that their skills in doing IVF leave a lot to be desired, as a result of which patients suffer needlessly.

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