Since the first test tube baby was born in the year 1978, in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment has been developed and improved to benefit millions of people who experi¬ence childlessness. It is estimated that the number of IVF infants in the world (including intracytoplasmic sperm injection- ICSI) has now surpassed five million. A lot of IVF clinics in Chandigarh have also given the joy of parenthood to many Indians and NRIs.
Despite the development of in vitro fertilization (IVF) more than 30 years ago, the cost of treatment remains high. Furthermore, over the years, more sophisticated technologies and expensive medications have been introduced, making IVF increasingly inaccessible despite the increasing need. Globally, the option to undergo IVF is only available to a privileged few. However, low-cost IVF treatment in Chandigarh has given hope to many couples struggling with infertility.
The high cost of IVF treatment is the main barrier that prevents many from benefiting from this technology to help them conceive. Although the cost of IVF treatment is variable among different countries, it is generally an expensive treatment in most parts of the world. Fortunately cost of IVF in Chandigarh is not too high, especially at our clinic-Jannee Fertility Centre.
The high price tag for IVF treatment is largely due to Investigations, Medications (mainly for Ovulation Induction) and Laboratorial equipment. In recent years, there has been growing interest in exploring strategies to reduce the cost of IVF treatment, which would allow the service to be provided in low-resource settings.
Before understanding the cost involved in IVF/ Test-Tube Baby, we need to take an overview of the procedure. The IVF procedure involves fertilizing an egg outside the body, in a laboratory dish, and then implanting it in a woman’s uterus. The main steps in IVF are:
• Step 1: Investigations
• Step 2: Ovulation induction
• Step 3: Egg retrieval
• Step 4: Fertilization
• Step 5: Embryo transfer and Implantation
There is a growing need for low cost IVF treatment in Chandigarh to provide infertility care in a low resource economy like ours. It will increase both the Affordability and Accessibility. Low-cost IVF can be provided by the following means-
• Reducing biochemical monitoring costs- by taking adequate medical history, Avoiding duplicate and unnecessary investigations, etc.
• Reducing drug dose (e.g. low-stimulation protocols) – E.g. Natural Cycle IVF, Mini-IVF, Kato Protocol, Shanghai Protocol,etc
• Reducing laboratory costs (not applicable to already established IVF labs)- Simplified Culture System developed by Walking Egg Foundation.
Many test-tube baby clinics are providing low-cost IVF by employing method of low drug dose or low-stimulation protocols. There are many advantages of Low Stimulation Protocol such as Shortening of stimulation time, Reducing the amount of GnRH used, reducing the chances of Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome & Multiple Pregnancies. Thus, the total cost of treatment and risk would be reduced.
However, these low drug-dose protocols come with certain disadvantages too like Lower oocyte yield, Fewer number of embryos retrieved, Lower pregnancy rates per IVF cycle. So, the patient may need to undergo more treatment cycles due to the lower pregnancy rate of these protocols. Hence, even though the current trend for the development of low-cost IVF in India is very encouraging, further research is needed to decide the clinical and cost effectiveness of Low Stimulation Protocols before Low Cost IVF may be provided.
Recent discoveries should prompt international organizations to enhance their support in bringing this effective service to the people in need of IVF treatment in areas with limited resources. With continued sup¬port for further research and service development, millions of people troubled by sub-fertility can be offered help by IVF clinics in Chandigarh. Those that are financially disadvantaged will not have to accept the fate and bear the sorrow of childlessness.