With the increasing number of couples dealing with infertility, the Goa Medical College (GMC) will soon introduce treatment options. The state’s premier healthcare facility is looking at starting intrauterine insemination (IUI) to help couples struggling to conceive. This option addresses infertility in men, and is easier on the pocket than the more popular in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Once the hospital establishes the IUI procedure, it plans to introduce IVF as well. Of the total number of patients at the GMC’s gynecology department, 15-20 percent complains of infertility and the numbers are only growing. Head of obstetrics and gynecology at GMC, Dr Gurudas Pednekar, said the department plans to start the IUI services “as soon as possible”. Dr Jayant Kamat, a gynecologist, said that the approach towards treatment is much better today than in the past. “I have couples approaching me for treatment even three-four months after marriage,” he said, adding that in such cases, if a woman is below 30 years of age, they advise the couple to wait for a year or two, subject to other factors. Besides, having primary knowledge about infertility problem, Kamat said a working woman’s status exposes her to knowledge about treatment options.
“When I inquire with my patients as to what made them approach me, they often reply that they learnt about me from a colleague,” said Kamat. Pednekar said, “A single cycle of IUI will cost a patient ₹10,000, whereas IVF which targets women having fertility problems will cost not less than ₹50,000 per cycle.” Pednekar admits there is a shift in the trend. While earlier couples with infertility problems would put off treatment for later, today’s couples approach the issue early on. “Two decades ago, couples with infertility problem used to start treatment late, but it’s no more the case except, perhaps maybe for a few. There is more awareness now,” he said. Before a treatment plan can be suggested, the couple’s medical history is studied. Dr Kedar Padte, who treats infertility cases, said about 20-25 percent of married couples in the state could be facing infertility problems which he attributes largely to the trend of late marriages in Goa. Though IUI and IVF expands options for a couple having difficulties in conceiving, the results can be elusive. Besides being taxing on the pocket, the treatment can prove painful both physically and emotionally for the couple.
Kamat said the treatment cost increases as medicines used are imported. “We use best quality medicines to achieve good results,’ he added. The average cost per cycle of IVF can be as high as ₹1 lakh. It may need to be repeated if the result is not positive. The desired result may be achieved in the very first cycle or it may take more cycles for a couple to see positive result in terms of taking home a baby. Pednekar said that for any facility offering infertility treatment such as IVF, there is 25-30 percent chance of a positive outcome. Before starting the treatment, when one of the partners is detected as infertile, Pednekar said, they try to find out the cause of the infertility. The analysis helps the doctor handling the case to adopt the best possible option for the couple seeking to be biological parents. In one-third of the infertility cases, Pednekar said, the cause remains unexplained. The treatment starts with lower modulation to higher modulation, subject to the results. – TOI