Fertility clinics at government hospitals still a distant dream: Expert

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Pune, May 24: Though various aspects of healthcare are provided by government hospitals in Maharashtra, they still do not have fertility centres, thus leaving an increasing chunk of the population diagnosed with infertility to depend on private hospitals, Dr Naresh Purohit, Advisor-National Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Programme, said on Tuesday.

Sharing his concern on the access to sexual and reproductive health services for women, Executive Member of the Foundation for Reproductive Health Service – India (FRHS- India), Purohit told that the skylines of many cities in the state are dotted with advertisements of private infertility treatment centres, a multicrore industry that fleeces childless couples, but the government seems to be in no hurry to establish the facility in any of its medical college hospitals.

“The state does not have a single government-run centre offering in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment,” he said. “IVF treatment at govt hospitals is the need of the hour” he stressed. He averred that the infertility treatment industry is worth Rs 1,830 crore now which is expected to go up to Rs 5,000 crore by 2025.

He pointed out that in private hospitals, these treatments are expensive and poor couples cannot afford them as they cost over a lakh of rupees to complete just one course of treatment.

The noted reproductive health expert stated that couples who do not conceive a child naturally despite having regular sex without contraceptives for over a year, are considered infertile.

For those above the age of 35, this period is reduced to around six months. For such couples, IVF is a ray of hope. However, as the cost is in lakhs, couples who are financially weak are unable to explore the option.

“Studies have shown that infertility is rising among men and women of all economic classes. To make the IVF accessible for everyone it is essential to start the treatment in government hospitals” he averred.

He revealed that research studies show that 15 out of 100 couples suffer from infertility due to multiple reasons like increased stress, alcoholism, weight gain and Iate marriage.

“Psychological stress, coupled with environmental and industrial pollution, is contributing to infertility in men in Pune” he added

“Clinical studies on male fertility have shown that stress is associated with reduced paternity and abnormal semen parameters, which also contributes to infertility” he informed. He urged the government to start IVF treatment at government hospitals soon.