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COVID-19 poses threat to couples seeking IVF treatment in India: Health experts

ANI | Updated: Jul 27, 2020 00:34 IST

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has emerged as a huge challenge for couples seeking In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment in India, experts said.
Medical experts pointed out that 30 lakh people seek infertility treatment in India every year, but only 5 lakh people undergo the IVF/Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) procedure. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, couples have suffered a lot.
While most of the couples had to postpone their plans of parenthood, those who were undergoing treatment could not complete their treatment, experts said.
"Out of 30 lakh people seeking infertility treatment in India every year, around 5 lakh people seek IVF/IUI treatment. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to endure problems. There needs to be urgent awareness among the masses regarding the reproductive health ever since the outbreak of COVID-19 in India," said Sanjiv Navangul, Managing Director and CEO, Bharat Serums and Vaccines Limited.

Talking about the significant reduction in patients undergoing fertility treatment in the country, Dr Sweta Gupta, Clinical Director at Medicover Fertility said, "The coronavirus pandemic is a challenging phase for everyone including fertility treatment. With the unlocking phase, things have slowly started coming back to normal. Couples who are looking for treatment need not delay their plans anymore. The pandemic will stay with us until we either develop herd immunity or a vaccine gets discovered."
"All procedures of IVF are practised after initial risk assessment with COVID-19 risk mitigation steps in a highly sanitised environment. There is no need to fear about its success if you follow preventive guidelines issued by the government," added Dr Gupta.
Dr Jayesh Amin, Clinical Director, WINGS IVF Group, said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected plans for several women planning for motherhood.
"Most centres have resumed work observing the international and national guidelines for the fertility treatment during COVID-19. As per the data analysis, of 1,100 centres across India from April to June, almost 90 per cent drop was observed in the number of people undergoing IVF cycles," said Dr Amin.
"IVF cycle is a planned preparation of several months. COVID-19 crisis and lockdown measures suddenly changed our world. It led to the cancellation of IVF cycle or treatment. Eventually, as the lockdown was eased, there are still travel restrictions, absence of public transport and extended lockdown at few places, resulting in cancellation of treatment or discontinuation of treatment," said Dr Swati Dongre, Infertility Specialist and Gynecologist at Santati IVF Fertility Centre. (ANI)