Kerala is host to a myriad of infertility treatment centers, all of them having erupted in the last few decades and within a short time ahead of each other. While this statement has been just off-handedly made, the fact is that at present, there exists ‘tons’ of fertility treatment centers in this state in India, offering one or the other types of choices to address infertility issues for both men and women.
One more interesting thing to note here is that the state across all its districts, consists of a good number of institutes/centers that provide an exclusive range of treatments, starting from fertility medicines to surgeries, including varicocele, sperm extraction technology, and assisted reproductive technology to name a few.
Having had a brief outlook of the fertility treatment centers in Kerala, the current article attempts to have a detailed view of the same to determine the one that can be highly relied upon, the criteria being treatment and service quality, assurance, and cost.
Before proceeding and elaborating further on the aforementioned points, it has been felt appropriate to speak a word or two about the issue of infertility prevailing in the concerned state, i.e., Kerala. This is just to get a glimpse of what all types of fertility issues haunt people here, the factors causing the same, and what truly prompts them to seek treatment in this regard.
Infertility Status In Kerala
As per data, the current fertility level in Kerala has been seen to be below the replacement level. Of note, the total fertility rate (TFR) went down to 1.8 in the 2019-2021 period. Such a consistency seen in the falling fertility rate has strictly invited the need to undertake preventive measures to stop infertility issues from rising further.
While couples concerned with their fertility-related problems have been resorting to alternative techniques of conceiving, such as IVF, this has subsequently increased the demand for fertility service centers to do their needful in eradicating the problem of infertility.
Factors Affecting/Influencing Fertility In Kerala
Given that TFR has been gradually declining in the state, this has necessitated the need to acknowledge the various factors affecting fertility rates. To date, these have included:
- Structural Changes in the Political Economy: When parents get richer due to improved incomes, they tend to invest more in quality education for their children. With the cost of investment being high, they foresee this and prefer to reproduce fewer children.
- Improved Investments in Social Sector and Health: Subsequent to the structural changes brought about in the political economy, these have enhanced the scope of investing in relevant social sectors, including healthcare and business. It is obvious from this statement that the status of women in Kerala has developed to the point of investing considerably towards their future, including their health and mostly those of their children. However, as stated above, the pricey investment schemes remain bothersome to not beget further offspring. Though this may or may not suggest any fertility-related problems, these can develop tendencies to avoid conception, diminishing the prospects of fertility.
- Improved Education Scheme for Women: Women in Kerala are privileged to hold higher education degrees through improved educational opportunities schemes available for them. This factor has enhanced their level of knowledge and perspectives on marriage and childbirth, also prompting them to decide when to consider conceiving. If plans to become pregnant go beyond the childbearing age, it is likely for them to face fertility issues.
Most Common Infertility Treatments Available in Kerala
Like it was stated above, the fertility treatment centers in the state provide a wide range of treatment and related services to childless couples. Some centers provide separate treatments for both partners. However, this is when fertility issues are found in each one of them at the same time. Nevertheless, such incidents are based on the age factor in particular. A look at the various fertility treatment options offered have thus included the following:
- Highly Specialized and Comprehensive Services for Managing Infertility: These include a host of fertility services including assisted reproductive techniques, such as IVF or ICSI, management for male infertility, and high-risk pregnancy care with neonatology services to name a few. The more specialized clinics have also been known to help both individuals and couples who not only experience issues with getting pregnant, but are also having a hard time retaining their pregnancy.
- Self-Cycle IVF (self-egg/sperm/embryo): This procedure determines the quality of eggs and sperm derived from couples availing the treatment. It would also be worth noting here that the success rate of IVF is highly based on a woman’s age, especially one who is between 21 and 35 years old. The percentage of success comes to around 75% for this age category. However, as a woman gets older, the chances for the procedure to turn out successful decreases by 63%. This is even less for those aged 40-45, i.e., at 50%. This subsequently reduces to 40% for women aged between 45 and 50.
- Donor-Cycle IVF (Donor egg/sperm, embryo): With the quality of eggs and sperm being held supreme regardless of whether they are derived from the owner or the donor, the success percentage for women aged between 21 and 35 stands at 85%, better than what can be found with the self-cycle IVF. Of note, women of advanced age, say 35-40, 40-45, and 45-50 are also highly benefited by Donor-Cycle, where their success rate comes to 78%, 65%, and 45% respectively.
The other treatments provided by the different fertility centers in Kerala have also included:
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- Semen analysis test
- Frozen embryo transfer (FET)
- Laser-assisted hatching
- Egg/semen freezing
Cost Of Infertility Treatments In Kerala
The costs depend on the type of infertility treatments available in the state. Following are the details pertaining to the same as provided in the table below:
|Fertility Treatments||Cost (in INR/Rs)|
|IVF using self eggs and sperm||1,50,000-200,000|
|IVF (Donor Egg/Sperm)||2,20,000-2,50,000|
|IVF (Embryo Donation)||2,80,000-3,20,000|
|Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)||40,000-50,000|
It is evident from here that FETs are more affordable than the rest of the infertility treatments offered in the state. However, when opting for this procedure, one needs to ascertain the quality of the eggs and sperm.
Though one can find a myriad of centers addressing infertility issues in Kerala, there are only a few specialized ones who apart from assisting couples with difficulty in conceiving, can also provide every support, ranging from conception to pregnancy care (for retention), and neonatal services. Though the costs involved can likely surpass the figures mentioned above, couples can rest assured of the quality treatment and service they derive from such institutions.