“Infertility is a curse and its due to some deficiency in the female”. “Womb problem or diseases of the uterus are sole causes for infertility”. “Fertility solutions are extra ordinarily expensive and not easily available”. “In-vitro fertilization (IVF) or test tube method is the only way to conceive a child by those with fertility issues”. I have brothers and sisters, a fairly large family borne naturaly, so I don’t foresee I would have fertility issue “
Such are the views held by those who have difficulty in conceiving, their families and the public at large.
With 1 in every 6 couple around the world experience difficulties in conceiving, infertility is an identified and declared public health issue by the WHO. Yet, reproductive health and fertility have not been discussed out in the open and never gotten center stage attention as issues such as cardiac health and obesity. At a more personal level it is treated as a stigma for those affected.
It is an ordeal dealing with the condition silently, without much information, options and access. Misconceptions are abounding.
Many of these misconceptions are perpetuated by stand-alone IVF clinics, which offer IVF as the only panacea for conception, which could largely be due to lack of skill or technology or financial ethics. Conception however, is affected by a multitude of reasons from genetics, to urbanized life style. hence there is a need for a real/complete “fertility clinic” that finds out the root cause, treats it appropriately rather than “one size fits all” IVF clinic model. New age fertility clinics leveraging the new advances in science are now one step ahead in carefully planning for fertility journey of patients as well as preserving fertility. Most of educated couples , after their marriage can get a fertility outcome evaluation, get their score, preserve their egg/embryo and plan well for their family .
The Santaan Fertility Clinic and Research Institute (Santaan) is endeavoring to ease the pain of those affected by providing superior fertility outcomes through marrying cutting-edge technology with a patient-centric clinical approach.
Sukanya (name changed), a patient aged 29 years and married for nine years with a single child, had difficulty conceiving even after two years of trying out multitude of interventions. At Santaan she conceived within 3 months. Another patient, Renu (name changed) in the age group of 30-35 was unable to conceive even after being treated at another clinic for 3-6 months, but at Santaan was pregnant within 6 months. These did not happen with In-vitro fertilization (IVF) as many would guess. All it took was Santaan Clinical Pathway, a unique methodology that personalizes the optimum path to pregnancy for the worried couple. This exploits comprehensive tests all under one roof to arrive at the root cause and addresses it transparently with patients. As in this case it didn’t need unnecessary IUI/IVF and the patient conceived with appropriate medicines only. This makes the entire process from registering the patient complaint to actual conceiving a more transparent, holistic, participative, informed and consensual approach.
As per a small internal study, a majority of women patients at Santaan who were under 30 and unable to conceive for 2-3 years were inflicted with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). PCOS is one of the many medical conditions and risk factors, which prevent smooth and easy conception, and Santaan comprehensively covers detection and management of most of the underlying risk factors.
In many of the above cases there was no need for IVF and the total expenditure on the medications amounted to not greater than nine thousand rupees, which is a fraction of the cost of a more intrusive and time taking IVF procedure. This busts the common misconception as propagated by nefarious elements in the healthcare industry that the more expensive IVF treatment is the panacea for those facing difficulties in bearing a child.
Santaan through its efforts and results is educating not just the patients but also the masses and busting the common myths about infertility. The other big stake holder in this problem is skill enhancement of doctors and embryologists. Santaan academy is established for this purpose where embryologists and doctors are trained on up to date skills to improve outcomes, ultimately passing on the benefit to patients. E.g. robotics assisted procedure where difficult procedures like ICSI are done easily with improves chance of success. Santaan uses these advanced technologies for its patients as well trains the future generation to spread the benefits beyond boundaries.
Changing lifestyles has resulted in late marriages and even later pregnancy planning. Earlier generation thought of family planning as use of contraceptives to delay and space child birth. In the new generation we need to look at family planning as securing the family. One big hurdle in this is delayed baby planning, where number of quality of the eggs and sperm reducing the chances of natural pregnancy. To address this Santaan provides solution of fertility preservation where couples can freeze and bank their eggs, sperm or embryo to increase chances of pregnancy at a later age. This procedure also helps patients with cancer that effects their ovaries or testes to retain ability to be pregnant at appropriate time.
Although the numbers are alarming and the ordeal very real, patients and their families need not battle this ordeal alone. There is an able partner and friend in Santaan, which aims to ease their journey to successful parenthood. The biggest reward is to get smiles through the gift of a child, who otherwise had difficulties.
It is exactly for this reason that Santaan’s mission for planned and assisted conception and parenthood is called, “Science for Smiles”.