IVF Treatment in India
A Brief Historical Recap
In Vitro Fertilization, or simply, IVF treatment is as old in India as the procedure itself. India has produced the world’s second IVF baby (the first being Louise Brown of United Kingdom). The first IVF Baby, Louise Joy Brown was born on 25 July 1978 under the successful procedure conducted by Dr. Patrick Steptoe & Dr. Robert Edwards. While this achievement was widely recognized by the world, and Dr. Edwards went on to receive the Nobel Prize in the year 2010, there was someone in India who has done equally credible job but received none of those recognitions, at least in his lifetime. On June 1991 (just 67 days after the birth of Louise Brown), a Kolkata based physician, Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhay created the world’s second Test Tube or IVF Baby. The baby was named Durga (today she is 36 years old). Dr. Mukhopadhay did a remarkable feat as he worked under much less favorable conditions compared to his English counterparts and the society was also highly prejudiced towards so-called Test-Tube babies. Thus, when he reported his successful case, the state government showed extreme apathy and in fact, harassed this great doctor. He was not even allowed to share his feat with International Scientific Community. Ultimately, Dr. Mukhopadhay committed suicide on June 19, 1981.
But, IVF Treatment progressed remarkably in India Dr. Mukhopadhay’s tragic death raised the eyebrows in India, and the country finally woke up to the cause of infertility treatment in India. Institute for Research in Reproduction of Indian Council of Medical Research & King Edwards Memorial Hospital (KEM) collaborated to produce India’s first scientifically documented baby, Harsha in August 6, 1986. Progress of IVF in India In the last three decades, the private sector in India has invested heavily in setting up state-of-the-art infrastructure in India. As of date, it is estimated that there are around 500 IVF Clinics in India. However, even the Medical Council of India doesn’t have a complete list of all the clinics.
IVFGurus’ first ever listing of IVF Clinics has found a little over 400 qualified IVF Clinics. A number of reputed doctors have set up their own clinics, many of these clinics have over two decades experience and have treated thousands of patients with high percentage of success. It should be noted here that most of the reputed Infertility specialists in India have obtained some training and certification from abroad, notably from the U.K. Thus, the knowledge-flow has been fairly fast in regard to latest developments in the field of Infertility worldwide.
IVF Treatment in India: few key issues to consider
If you are planning to go for an IVF (or any other assisted reproductive techniques) treatment in India, here are a few key factors to consider:
Good & specialized doctors available for Infertility Treatment in India
Many Medical Tourism Companies would promote India as a ‘low cost destination’. While this serves their marketing agenda pretty fine, it actually undermines the quality factor of Indian healthcare sector. The Healthcare sector in India has come of age, and today, employs world-class infrastructure and does research on pressing healthcare issues. In the field of Infertility Treatment, Indian fertility specialists have started to work three decades back, and today, have acquired experience of treating thousands of patients (for sake of neutrality, we are not naming specialists at this moment, but you will find them in our Clinic listing). Thus, you can safely rely on Indian doctors for your treatment, after all about 20% of all International Medical Graduates employed in the USA are from India!
There are abundance of specialized IVF clinics and hospitals
Yes, if you are looking for Infertility Treatment, India offers you treatment options in abundance. No matter what your selection criteria is: Doctor’s Expertise, Cost, Success Records, Geographic location, Climate or more- India can offer you IVF Treatment options meeting all your needs. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari & Gujarat to Silchar – the vast country of India has treatment and travel options for all.
But, the market for Infertility Treatment in India is highly disorganized
This is true. In spite of the fact that there are hundreds of clinics in India, there is hardly a proper listing of the clinics. There have been initiatives like the National Association of Assisted Reproduction in India (NARI) set up by Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction (ISAR). However, membership of ISAR is a voluntary affair and so, could not be an umbrella organization of all Infertility hospitals and clinics in India. There is no mandatory regulation for Infertility Clinics. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) publishes the success rate of all ART Clinics in the United States. Likewise, in the UK, the Human Fertilization and Embryo Authority (HFEA) regulate and inspect all ART Clinics and works in the field of Embryo Research. However, if we talk of India, regulations have been very limited in ART Procedures. The most prominent work done by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) when it published a set of guidelines for ART Clinics, it also published a list of ART Clinics (approved by ICMR). However, the drawback of the same is that, the listing was never made mandatory and hence, less than 200 clinics have provided their details with ICMR so far. The authenticity of submitted details still needs to be seen.
Thus, given the scenario, Infertility Treatment in India is hugely functioning on self-regulation by clinics (as each clinic and hospital sets its own standards) and also, through referral and client feedback and monitoring. Having stated the same, you should know that strict regulations in healthcare sector are not common practices in developing countries like India, and IVF is not an exception. Thus, foreign patients are hardly bothered in availing treatment in India. According to a report by ASSOCHAM, the no. of foreign patients treating in India is expected to be around 3.2 Millions in 2015.
No mandatory submission of success rate for IVF Procedures
As discussed in previous para, unlike most of developed countries, it is still not mandatory for clinics to submit their success rate with any statutory regulatory body in India. Thus, clinics in India claim success rates at their own accord (barring a few who maintain and share records of their success rate properly on their website). Thus, if you are looking forward for a treatment in India, you should not rely solely on stated success rate of clinics only, but go beyond and look at other factors. At IVFGURUS’ IVF CLINIC RATINGS, we have used a host of key criteria in assessing clinics.
However, we are still not able to eliminate fully, all drawbacks; since IVFGURUS is in no way a regulatory body or association we cannot not mandate a clinic to submit all information regarding their success rates. In spite, of that, our comprehensive research provides great deal of information on factors beyond just success rate and helps reduce dependence on success rates to evaluate IVF clinics in India.
Success rate is same or better for IVF Treatment in India.
Having discussed the aforesaid point, we must stress once that the fact the clinics do not have to submit success rate which does not mean that the success rate is low in India. For, success rate of Infertility Clinics depends on key factors like: age of patients, expertise of doctors, infra & equipment available and the like. In India, the doctors have decades of experience and the clinics are surprisingly well equipped with all advanced equipment. On one instance, we have been to a clinic in one of the remote corners of Gurgaon city (Haryana, India). It took us almost half an hour to drive through rural traffic (carts, bicycles etc.) on a stretch of half kilometer. The hospital looked very shabby from outside. But once we entered, and we were taken to the first floor where the IVF / ART section was, we were surprised to see that the IVF Clinic was at par with any of the modern clinics. This applies to most of the clinics that we (IVFGURUS team) visited and, this is wonderful news for patients!
Wide cost variation across IVF Clinics in India
A lot of healthcare marketing companies will promote India as a cheap medical destination. Many would estimate that the cost of treatment in India is 1/10th of what you would spend in the United States or other developed country. However, this is only partially true. Although there is good cost advantage in getting treatment in India, the magnitude of the difference varies as per your decision on the category of hospital or clinic in India. Thus, if you get your treatment in a private clinic in a less costly city, you could get the 1/10th cost advantage; however, you cannot expect that much cost difference if you are treating in one of the high-end super-specialty hospitals in one of the Metro cities. Read more on cost : Cost of IVF Procedures in India
Visa Regulations made easier for foreign patients
For medical visa requirement, please note the following: You have to apply with the Indian embassy or consulate in your country. They would scrutinize your documents to see that your reason for visit is genuine The mission would satisfy themselves that you have explored the preliminary treatment options in your home country and have been referred for treatment abroad.Treatments should be done at specialized and reputed hospitals and treatment centers. Up to two attendants who are blood relatives, are allowed to travel with the patient, under Attendant Visa The duration of Visa is normally of 1 year or duration of treatment, whichever is less Procedures do change depending on the country you are traveling from. For more information on the VISA processes, please visit: Bureau of Home Affairs, Ministry of Immigration, Govt of India ;Online Indian Visa Application. Should you have more questions, do not forget to contact us. Legal aspects in IVF Treatment Indian Regulations are fairly relaxed in terms of IVF Treatment, Embryo nos. that can be transferred and so on. However, if you are same sex couple or a single parent, India may not be the best option for you, as latest regulation by Indian Parliament puts ban on ‘womb-renting'(read, surrogacy) by Lesbian and Gay couples.
Travel and stay options are available for all budgets
Travel & stay should not be a major cause of concern if you are looking for Infertility Treatment in India. You can expect a decent hotel / guest house to start at about US$25 a day (INR 1,500) and could go to around US$100 (INR 6,000) for the star grade ones. Food is decently priced as well. But, if you are traveling from a foreign country, you should be aware that Indian typical food is very spicy, so ask your hotel/guest house for less spicier options for you.
And now, you can get impartial guidance on choosing the best IVF Clinic in India!
And, this is the best part of all the information. No matter how much time you spend researching on the internet or how much referrals you take of clinics and doctors, your research and analysis of IVF clinics in India is going to be incomplete, as you would not be able to explore all the available options for IVF Treatment in India. If you browse on the Internet (notably, Google), you would end up switching between a list of only 15-20 clinics and hospitals, which are mostly very expensive options and not all could be best option for you. At IVFGURUS, we realized this immense challenge faced by couples in making an informed decision regarding the best available IVF clinic options for them. Our research team has spent months of time in assessing the good and bad sides of IVF clinics in India and you can discuss your case (complications, past history, preferences etc) with our counselors to receive an impartial and free guidance on the best available option for you. And our guidance is absolutely free for everyone. As discussed before, in spite of the fact that IVF/ART Procedures have advanced in India over more than three decades, the sector is still hugely unorganized and un-monitored. In such a scenario, patients do not get the chance to explore all the options available before them, thus get lured by the few clinics and hospitals that spend heavily on marketing and promotions.
The IVFGURUS’ RATINGS is the first-ever attempt to provide a democratic platform to all hospitals and clinics in India. We have provided two-pronged approaches to the rating of hospitals and clinics. At first, hospitals and clinics are rated by the research team at IVFGURUS using clinic’s own website information, secondary referral sites, email communication, phone communication, patient testimonials, personal visits to clinics & hospitals (in most cases). Secondly, we offer the option to patients to rate the clinics based on their prior experiences. The two pronged approaches should provide the most ideal assessment of the hospitals and clinics and help prospective parents in making informed decisions regarding the best IVF Clinics or Hospitals available in India for their treatment.