J&K mulls IVF centres in Govt medical colleges

Date:

Lal Ded Hospital successfully runs an intrauterine insemination (IUI) facility since January 2023

KD NEWS SERVICE

SRINAGAR, Jul 09: The Health and Medical Education Department, Jammu and Kashmir, is planning to introduce in vitro fertilisation (IVF) centres in government medical hospitals for the first time.

The prestigious proposal is under consideration by the government owing to the increasing infertility rate and the high treatment costs in private IVF clinics that mushroomed across J&K in the last few years, officials said.

They said that the specialised centres would be first set up at two leading maternity hospitals in the Union Territory—Lal Ded Hospital, Srinagar, and SMGS Hospital, Jammu. These centers will offer assisted reproductive technology at affordable costs or for free.

The demand for IVF is growing, but the high costs in the private sector are making it unaffordable for the middle and lower middle classes.

The IVF procedure in private facilities costs Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for every treatment cycle, and the success rate for the first cycle is not more than 50%, according to doctors.

Infertility rates are growing in J&K among both men and women due to irregular lifestyles, work pressure, and emotional issues, so there is a need to establish IVF clinics in the government setup.

In Kashmir alone, around 10–15 percent of the population struggles with infertility, as per a 2020 study in the International Journal of Reproductive, Contraception, Obstetrics, and Gynaecology.

“Among the above percentages, the prevalence of primary and secondary infertility was 72 percent and 28 percent, respectively,” the study noted.

Dr. Rizwana Habib Kanth, Head Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, said the IVF centres would require separate infrastructure, equipment, and human resources.

“We have submitted a proposal on this, and we are hopeful that it will become a reality soon as the government is positive about the project,” she said.

Dr. Rizwana further said that LD Hospital had already taken the first step in the direction of free infertility treatment by starting an intrauterine insemination (IUI) facility for infertile couples last year.

The IUI facility, which is a kind of artificial insemination, has been running successfully at Srinagar Hospital since January 2023, and 76 couples have already undergone the procedures and benefited from them, she said.

“Couples with unexplained infertility, cervical factor infertility, mild male factor infertility, etc. qualify for the IUI procedure. It’s almost free at our hospital, with a success rate on par with the best centres in India,” she said, adding that the hospital is gearing up to have an IVF facility next—(KNO)

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