A new life stirs within fertility industry in Kolkata – Times of India

Kolkata News
KOLKATA: Fertility clinics are coming back to life, indicating a strong yearning for new life amid the pandemic. The number of couples seeking assisted reproduction has shot up after suffering a sharp slump last year even as the city clinics offer hefty concessions to make in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) affordable.
During the first wave between March and October last year, IVF procedures in Kolkata had dropped by almost 80%. It recovered to almost 90% of pre-pandemic level this year despite the severe second wave in May.

“Couples had deferred their treatment plans for a year but subsequently they were ready to go ahead despite the Covid threat. We did 347 IVF cycles in 2020 while this year till July we did 524, which is almost a complete recovery,” said Gautam Khastagir, fertility expert who runs Birth, a city-based clinic which is offering a steep 40% discount on its packages. “We now prescribe cheaper drugs and try to do the procedure with fewer eggs. Though less expensive, treatment remains successful and our success rate remains unchanged,” he added.
Before the pandemic, the number of fertility treatment cycles in India annually stood at 2-2.5 lakh, say experts.
“When the lockdown was initially announced, fertility treatment came to a standstill because it is an elective procedure and there was limited understanding of how the virus would impact pregnancies. But the volumes now are comparable to non-pandemic times,” said CEO & co-founder of Indira IVF Kshitiz Murdia.
“At Indira IVF Kolkata centre, there were three times more patients at the peak of the second Covid wave than during the first. Between March and June 2020, we performed only 78 IVF cycles but the same period this year saw 242 cycles, which is similar to the number of cycles performed before the pandemic,” said Murdia.
Fertility treatment and IVF can be deferred but not ruled out, says Souren Bhattacharjee, centre head of Birla Fertility and IVF Centre that was launched in Kolkata last week. “We expect the IVF numbers to grow substantially in and around Kolkata due to lifestyle changes,” he said.
According to Murdia, millennials are increasingly deferring parenthood plans and relying on fertility treatment post-pandemic. “They don’t start thinking about fertility before 35. They have their professional priorities and are often not ready to start a family before that age, particularly now that professional insecurity has grown. But, the peak fertility age for Indian men and women is 25 and it starts going down subsequently. Women start losing fertility very fast post-32. So, dependence on assisted reproduction will grow,” Murdia said.
Lifestyle changes, stress, busy work schedules and food are responsible for infertility, say doctors. A lot of women are also freezing their embryos so that they can have a child after 40 or even later when they believe they are ready to be a parent. But Khastagir says work from home has, in fact, been a boon for many couples struggling to start a family. “Many conceived naturally during the period because they had more time for themselves and there was no stress of working in an office,” he said.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/a-new-life-stirs-within-fertility-industry/articleshow/85818210.cms