Bangalore hospital to tackle rising infertility in cities

Bangalore: Isis Medicare and Research Centre, a city-based hospital which specialises in in vitro fertiliastion (IVF), maternity and paediatric care, plans to set up its facility in a dozen cities across the country to tackle rising infertility, especially among professionals.

Named after Greek goddess of fertility and motherhood (Isis), the boutique hospital uses modern technology and domain expertise to offer fertility, infant and maternal care.

"We plan to invest Rs.200 crore to set up one hospital each with about 40 beds in 12 major cities across the country over the next five years to address infertility which is becoming a major problem," its founder Prasad (eds: one name) told reporters here Friday.

The hospital is looking for venture capital to fund its expansion plans, as the healthcare sector has began to attract equity funds.

The hospital, which has invested Rs.18 crore in setting up the main facility in Bangalore's upscale Sadhashivnagar suburb, will open two more centres in the city over the next 18 months.

"Unfortunately, many couples do not speak or discuss about infertility due to social stigma and cultural inhibitions. About 20 percent of the population currently faces the problem as against 15 percent two decades ago," hospital director Ashalatha Ganesh said.

Increasing awareness of the problem is making couples seek medical intervention, including counselling and treatment to tackle infertility.

"Long and stressful work hours, sedentary lifestyle, late marriages, especially among working couples, delayed pregnancy and environmental factors are causing infertility in men and women," Ganesh said.

A study, commissioned by the hospital, revealed that every third man has a poor sperm count or poor sperm motility.

"Infertility can be solved through correct diagnosis, counselling and focused treatment, which is required in major cities across the country in the absence of domain expertise currently," Ganesh pointed out.

Observing that no couple should be deprived the joy of parenthood, Ganesh said the problem could also be addressed through artificial insemination, donor programme, surgical sperm retrieval and surrogacy.

"For couples who cannot be treated through medication, we believe alternative solutions such as artificial insemination, sperm retrieval and surrogacy can be used to overcome infertility," Ganesh noted.

"With the cost of fertility treatment being one-eighth of that in developed countries, India is emerging as a preferred destination for Europeans and Africans suffering from infertility," Prasad said.

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