IVF is a common treatment option prescribed to infertile couples. It is a costly treatment which means that not all infertile couples can afford to do it. . It is painful to see such couples , who will surely be benefited by IVF treatment , but unfortunately they do not have money to pay for the treatment. At the same time, it is stressful for the poor couple as well , to be unable to get the treatment which offers them the best chance of having a deeply loved baby. Every day, IVF specialists witness many such frustrating and disappointing events. There are currently very few options left for couples who are denied IVF due to financial constraints.

To understand the situation better, we need to look into the expenses related to IVF. It is a known fact that treatment is truly very expensive. Part of this is due to the huge fees that some IVF doctors charge . In India we do not have enough IVF specialists. This allows doctors to charge a huge amount to the patient . They can justify this using a number of pretexts such as their extensive clinical experience and the years they spent in training . Another reason for the high expense is the cost of the disposables required in the procedure. In spite of this, there are ways by which we can help make this treatment affordable and accessible to all needy infertile couples.

The Indian Government can take a stand in this initiative by accepting that infertility treatments are a part of family planning and welfare. The current government rules means that govt insititutes neglect infertile couples. Once the government medical institutions start IVF treatment programs, they can be offered at a much lower cost. Let's not forget that IVF treatment in India was pioneered at a government hospital, KEM Hospital in Mumbai, where the IVF team mastered the basics by treating poor infertile couples. The treatment program would then be available to infertile couples from lower socio-economic strata. This action will also help to OB/GYN doctors in training to IVF treatment , which will in turn increase the number of IVF specialists in our country.

The other tragedy is that Medical Insurance companies do not include IVF in their health care schemes. They tend to support their stand by claiming that infertility is a lifestyle disorder , rather than a medical condition. These bizarre excuses of insurance people deny an important treatment option to infertile couples. It is imperative for infertile couples to come together and fight against these absurd claims of insurance agencies. Once these couples fight as a collective force, the insurance companies would have to listen to the facts and make necessary amends. An ingenious insurance company can also come up with infertility health schemes which could be offered as gifts for newly married couples. The company would get a hefty premium ; and the 10% of couples who would need treatment would be able to afford it as they have insurance cover !

Summary: In India, IVF is a treatment option which is not affordable to all, but some simple measures on the part of government and healthcare insurance companies can help to fix the problem.

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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