by Dr Rita Bakshi
Infertility is not gender specific. Millions of people of reproductive age worldwide are affected by infertility. Although male infertility contributes to more than half of all cases of global childlessness, infertility still remains a woman’s social burden.Infertility is defined as the failure to become pregnant after a year of frequent and unprotected intercourse. Infertility affects both men and women, and is typically diagnosed by the inability to conceive. Statistics reveal that about 10-14% of the Indian population suffers from infertility. Various health issues have paved the way for the rise of infertility amongst married couples. Sedentary lifestyles with minimum physical activity, rising stress level and irregular sleep patterns are few reasons that, according to many health experts, are causing infertility, thus forcing them to opt for artificial ways of conceiving.
Infertility in males is most commonly caused by problems in the ejection of semen, absence or low levels of sperm, or abnormal shape (morphology) and movement (motility) of the sperm.
In the female reproductive system, infertility may be caused by a range of abnormalities of the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, and the endocrine system, among others.
It’s been about a decade now, that there has been an increasing trend of infertile couples and fertility services providers throughout India. Earlier, the assisted reproductive facilities were available mostly in metro cities in limited numbers. Today, even the Tier II and Tier III cities also have IVF centres with increasing facilities and treatment has become easily approachable and accessible to all.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is a technique of assisting the couples to conceive and fulfil their dream of having a baby. It is the biggest revolution in the field of infertility. ART includes fertility treatments that handle both a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm. The said technology is used to treat infertility by means of procedures such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination, and surrogacy.
Additionally, as per World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, around 48 million couples and 186 million individuals live with infertility across the globe. To reduce this global burden, people are opting for assisted reproductive technology (ART)procedures. The global assisted reproductive technology market size is expected to grow from $26.28 billion in 2021 to $31.29 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.1%. The growth is mainly due to the companies resuming their operations and adapting to the new normal while recovering from the COVID-19 impact, which had earlier led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges. The market is expected to reach $62.05 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 18.7 percent.
The growing infertility cases worldwide have fostered the growth of fertility clinics globally. India exhibits strong growth due to rising awareness and new age technology. Growing awareness among people coupled with increasing government initiatives to tackle infertility burden is fostering the growth of ART market. Higher success rate of ART procedures is expected to create a conducive environment for the growth in the market. Increasing number of fertility clinics along with establishment of sperm banks across developing regions is creating lucrative growth avenues within the ART market.
The ever-evolving ART market now has to abide by The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2021 (ART Bill) was passed by the Lok Sabha on December 1. First introduced in September 2020,Under the Bill, every ART clinic and bank must be registered under the National Registry of Banks and Clinics of India. It will act as a central database for the provision of ART services in India. The Bill ensures that the ART clinics are appropriately equipped with essential facilities and a team of medical practitioners. All the practitioners must be registered with the National Medical Commission for carrying out the procedures related to ART. ART Banks are the establishments that supply sperm or oocytes to ART clinics or their patients.
The fertilization of a human egg outside the woman’s body, the growth of the embryos in the laboratory, and the transfer of embryos to the uterus has assisted many couples worldwide to embrace parenthood. The technology of ART is great and provides success stories but there is scope of improvement in the newly passed bill of ART. The bill needs to be practical in approach, so that it can be embraced by the willing people without any hesitation.
Dr Rita Bakshi, Founder, RISAA IVF
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