GIFT OF TECHNOLOGY FOR INFERTILITY COUPLES
Considering the fact that rural areas home to 70% of the country's population, do not have functional primary healthcare centers left alone infertility clinics. Patients suffering from infertility, have to travel all the way towards cities for treatment. Experts suggest the need of building Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) and satellite centers in rural areas to meet the need of the infertile population which according to them are financially viable models reducing travel time, cost of travel and stay. As of now, only ten percent of the infertility population is being addressed/with around 300 IVF centers across the country. Currently, the infertility centers running in smaller towns and rural areas work in coordination with the referral ART centers, located in tertiary healthcare institutes in cities parent IVF/ART set ups have experienced gynecologists and embryologists formally trained in the subject and state of the art lab set ups. Basic investigations and treatment is conducted in the infertility clinic in the rural area while IVF and ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Insemination) cases are referred to Art center. A satellite unit extends service for ultrasound follicular study, semen analysis, laparoscopy, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and later refer cases which need higher therapies like IVF, ICSI and donor IVF program. This again works in co-ordination with main center, preferably any tertiary healthcare infertility set up, where ART is conducted. An ideal satellite center has one sonography machine, a team of gynecologists, nurses, pathologist and lab technicians to conduct basic infertility treatments.
Setting up a satellite set up:
Satellite set up can be more economically viable and feasible than regular ART/IVF centers. The satellite set up comprises of an IUI set up costing around Rs. 4 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh, which can conduct procedures like follicle monitoring and gonadotrophin simulation. The cases of IVF and ICSI can then be referred to the main center, feel experts. The success of the satellite set up rests on their linkages with the main center, which is a well equipped ART set up run by gynecologists and embryologists. The expertise in the main center is therefore properly utilized under such a system.
The reverse trend:
Some experts feel that the ART centers offers affordable treatments for infertility which can be available by people even of urban areas. Experts suggest that the satellite center and ART center in rural areas is a boon, considering the illiteracy and the economic status of the people in rural India. The feasibility and significance of the rural ART setup lies in the fact that people from the nearby areas come from the treatment in volumes. "Urban center gets only selected difficult cases needing specialized treatment and the expert gynecologists can concentrate on these clients since in ART treatment, a lot of methodical counseling is involved, which is time consuming. They can not manage the huge load of simple cases and the patients can get team locally under the supervision and protocols decided by the expert. "The concept of providing good infertility treatment in rural areas through satellite centers and ART centers is a trend, which is showing good results. Patients from Mumbai, Pune and Goa also approach these centers because it offers them treatment at a cheaper rate. An IVF cycle would cost Rs. 40,000 in the rural set up against Rs. 60,000 to 1,00,000 in a private Art set up in an urban area.