By Vidya Shivram
Dr Amy Jones's contribution to mankind is teaching medical centres to implement a new infertility treatment technique
She is all 25. A love for travelling combined with a love for work appears to have brought Dr Amy Jones to Mumbai.
An embryologist by profession, Jones is collaborating with Malpani Fertility Services by assisting them in the specialised technique of ICSI.
ICSI (pronounced 'eeksee') is the technique of intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection, anew infertility treatment which uses micro-manipulation technology (whereby a sperm is injected into an egg using specialised instruments) to treat infertile men.
Born in Tennessee in the US, Jones pursued her education in Atlanta. It was there that she began working on animals at the Non-Human Primate research centre (popularly known as YERKES).
"I love animals," she states. But her expertise in the use of micro manipulators soon became known and the Reproductive Biology Research Centre (RBA) invited her to assist them.
"I don't regret giving up animal research," says Jones. "For one thing, there is little money in it. Besides, government grants are restricted because of animal rights groups. There are just too many hurdles."
Jones had to quickly master the micro manipulator to do ICSI on patients. "Once you know how to use the instrument, you can work on a variety of techniques yourself. Teaching yourself is the best way to learn," she says.
She points out that unlike in the UK where there is a law limiting the number of embryo implants to three, in India there is no such law.
Talking of the culture difference, Jones recounts an instance where an Indian lady was willing to donate eggs to another who had a deficiency. "Such generosity can be seen only in India!" she exults.
Such differences there may be, but Jones emphatically declares that the urge for parenthood is the same everywhere. "There have been cases in the US where people have mortgaged their houses to pay for fertility treatment!" she recounts. While in India ICSI treatment costs about Rs 80,000 (for a single cycle), it is $10,000 in the US and £ 3000 in UK.
On a lighter note, Jones recalls, "On hearing of my work in India, many asked me, 'Why India? Don't they have enough people as it is?'"
While she plans to be home for Christmas and has several offers waiting for her there, the lady is clear that she will continue to travel.