Rising Infertility Rate Drives India’s Reproductive Technology Market Growth, Health News, ET HealthWorld

by Dr. Rita Bakshi

Infertility is not gender specific. Millions of people of reproductive age around the world are affected by infertility. Although male infertility contributes to more than half of all cases of infertility worldwide, infertility remains a social burden for women. Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after one year of frequent, unprotected sex. Infertility affects both men and women and is usually diagnosed by the inability to conceive. Statistics reveal that around 10-14% of the Indian population suffers from infertility. Various health issues have paved the way for the increase in infertility among married couples. Sedentary lifestyles with minimal physical activity, increasing stress levels and irregular sleeping patterns are some of the reasons that many health experts believe cause infertility thus forcing them to opt for artificial design methods.

Infertility in men is most often caused by problems with ejection of sperm, absence or low levels of sperm, or abnormal shape (morphology) and movement (motility) of sperm.

In the female reproductive system, infertility can be caused by a series of abnormalities of the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes and endocrine system, among others.

It has been about a decade now that there has been a growing trend of infertile couples and fertility service providers all over India. Previously, assisted reproduction facilities were available mostly in metropolitan cities in limited numbers. Today, even Tier II and Tier III cities also have IVF centers with more and more facilities and the treatment has become easily accessible and accessible to everyone.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is a technique that helps couples conceive and achieve their dream of having a baby. This is the greatest revolution in the field of infertility. ART includes fertility treatments that treat both a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm. The said technology is used to treat infertility through procedures such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination and surrogacy.

Moreover, according to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), around 48 million couples and 186 million people live with infertility worldwide. To reduce this global burden, people are opting for assisted reproductive procedures (ART). The global assisted reproductive technology market size is expected to grow from $26.28 billion in 2021 to $31.29 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.1%. The growth is primarily due to businesses resuming operations and adjusting to the new normal while recovering from the impact of COVID-19, which previously led to restrictive lockdown measures involving social distancing, remote work and the closure of business activities that have resulted in operational challenges. The market is expected to reach $62.05 billion in 2026 with a CAGR of 18.7%.

The increasing cases of infertility in the world have favored the growth of fertility clinics around the world. India is showing high growth owing to rising awareness and new age technology. Rising awareness among people coupled with increase in government initiatives to tackle the burden of infertility is driving the growth of the ART market. A higher success rate of ART procedures is expected to create an enabling environment for market growth. The growing number of fertility clinics along with the establishment of sperm banks in developing regions are creating lucrative growth avenues in the ART market.

The ever-changing ART market must now comply with the Assisted Human Reproduction (Regulation) Bill 2021 (ART Bill) passed by the Lok Sabha on December 1. must be registered with the National Registry of Banks and Clinics of India. It will act as a central database for the provision of ART services in India. The bill ensures that ART clinics are appropriately equipped with essential facilities and a team of medical practitioners. All practitioners must be registered with the National Medical Commission to perform procedures related to assisted reproduction. ART Banks are the establishments that supply sperm or oocytes to ART clinics or their patients.

Fertilizing a human egg outside the woman’s body, growing embryos in the laboratory, and transferring embryos to the womb have helped many couples around the world embrace parenthood. ART technology is excellent and provides success stories, but there are improvements to be made in the recently passed ART Bill. The bill must be practical in its approach, so that it can be passed by people who want it without any hesitation.

Dr. Rita Bakshi, Founder, RISAA FIV

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