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12% of India’s population are infertile, says Dr Firuza Parikh

Hyderabad: India bears the brunt of infertility, as 8 to 12 per cent of India’s population are infertile. And so like many countries in the west, the government here should also provide free fertility treatment and help infertile couple, according to a leading fertility expert Dr Firuza Parikh.

Dr Firuza Parikh seen with one of her patients’ daughter
Dr Firuza Parikh seen with one of her patients’ daughter

“In vitro fertilization is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) commonly referred to as IVF. It is the process of fertilization by manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish, and then transferring the embryo to the uterus. But the success rate of this is just 40 per cent. And the treatment is expensive as most of the devices and medicines used are imported. Hence, the treatment is unaffordable to common people. It is the rural women who bear the brunt of this problem. Lot of stigma is attached to them. Fertility treatment is not a priority for the governments. In India, IVF is not covered by insurance and the cost of subsidized fertility treatment is daunting. So, I suggest that the government must bring this treatment under insurance cover,” Dr Parikh said while addressing a meeting of FICCI Ladies Organization here on Sunday.

According to Dr Parikh, the fertility treatment in European Union, France and Germany is free. “It is high time that the Indian government comes to the rescue of patients (infertile couples) now,” she said.

Dr Parikh further said, “With the kind of advancements we witness in stem cell research, it may soon be possible to have children without sex.”

“People are not having sex today. They have many other things. The simplest way to have a baby is to be in the bedroom and not in the boardroom,” she said while speaking about various reasons why couples fail to conceive, more so urban Indians.

“Most of the working Indian women seem to think: ‘Work now and conceive later’. Women are born with a million eggs. This reserve is depleted by the age of 40. The phenomenon, referred to as the ‘Biological Clock’, is a direct result of the limited egg supply with which each woman is born. The ticking of her ovarian Biological Clock, and not knowing where she is on that biological clock, is one of the biggest dilemmas every woman face,” Dr Parikh said.

According to Dr Parikh, the best period for conceiving is 25 to 35 years. “If for some reasons, it is not possible to conceive during this period, you need to freeze your eggs,” she advised urban Indian women.

Cryopreservation technology (a process where biological constructs like cells, tissues susceptible to damage are preserved) is rapidly taking the form of fertility insurance, Dr Parikh said.

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