Introduction: Dr Gautam Allahbadia, IVF specialist Mumbai talks about In Vitro Fertilization & IVF Lite at the Uma Show, Le Meridien, Dubai (UAE). He is currently heading the IVF team at MMC IVF.
Below are the Questions asked from Dr Gautam Allahbadia on The Uma Show:
Uma: Why is infertility on a rise in today’s day and age?
Dr Gautam: Infertility is being detected more often than previously, making it one of the chief reasons for rising figures of infertile couples in the global monitoring watchdog bodies. Nearly 1 in 5 couples globally face pregnancy related problems. The GCC region shows a slight higher stats when it comes to infertility, as compared to the global incidences of infertility.
A lot of it is now being attributed to the lifestyles that people lead, along with their physical and cognitive conditioning. Also, couples are getting married and deferring childbearing unless they are completely settled in life. By the time they begin family planning, it is a little too late. Here conservative treatments prove to be less effectual and we provide the couples with assisted reproductive procedures. The technology has made advances at great lengths with success rates increasing to almost 60-70%.
Uma: How long should a couple wait before opting for IVF?
Dr Gautam: There is a rough rule of thumb that if a woman is less than the age of 30, it is advised to wait for a year before going in for the treatment. If she is more than 30, and actively trying to bear a child but gets no projecting results within 6 months, it is advised to consult an IVF medical expert. In today’s time, I believe, it is a sensible decision for couples to get their fertility checked even at a young age.
Uma: What is IVF all about? Also, what is the IVF process?
Dr Gautam: IVF means in-vitro fertilization which, in common terms states ‘outside the body’ fertilization of sperms and egg. Egg and sperms are placed together in a controlled environment and are left for nature to commence the actual fertilization process. Today we have ancillary, and technologies that help us increase pregnancy rates. Through cryopreservation, eggs can be successfully frozen for over 25 years. So if you plan a baby and then plan your next after a while, you can have your eggs thawed followed by IVF, and have your second baby.
A woman’s egg will have more genetic or chromosomal abnormalities as she ages, due to deterioration of egg quality and quantity. So with assisted reproductive technologies, when you know that your ovarian reserve is borderline, you can always bank your eggs and complete your family whenever you want.
Uma: What is different about IVF Lite and how does it work?
Dr Gautam: IVF lite term was coined by me, for which I also wrote peer-reviewed publications, and also set up an international journal with a group of scientists called IVF Lite. IVF Lite’s thrust is minimal stimulation, in conventional treatments, couples are given quantitative doses of fertility injections, aimed at making multiple eggs. One of the side-effects of these injections is a dreaded medical complication of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome then can also be fatal. But through IVF Lite, we have fine-tuned a method wherein minimal amount of medicines (10 tablets for 10 days, and about 3 injections) are given with results as good as conventional IVF.
Initially IVF Lite was only for older women, above the age of 38, or those who were poor responders to fertility treatments, but today we have expanded it to almost all indications including women prone to ovarian hyperstimulation, endometriosis or even normal responders.
The main difference in IVF Lite is that for all the patients, we freeze the eggs in the month they are removed from the woman’s body, and the next month, the uterus is primed, making it more susceptible to receiving the embryos. That increases the pregnancy rates to 60-70%.
We are proud to be able to offer this program, also having the most experience and research with it. Women who were previously told that they can’t conceive their own genetic children, also have a chance at getting pregnant now.
Uma: How many IVF procedures should couples go through if they have not been successful?
Dr Gautam: With IVF Lite, we can now advise patients to go through one cycle and take tablets, with no medicines in the next cycle, and we are then able to take the egg out. The option of not taking any medicines has also been made possible through IVF Lite, where we can have natural egg pickups, giving you the chance to birth your own baby.
Uma: IVF is thought to be very expensive, and only a privilege for people with affluent backgrounds. The fact that it is reaching out to working couples is a big step towards giving them hope. How has the treatment impacted couples?
Dr Gautam: The prices, however, haven’t dropped down universally but through the management’s conscious decision to provide health-care to all, things have changed and now we have women who had given up hope, have their own genetic children.
Conclusion – The interview with Dr Gautam Allahbadia ended at a note that Assisted reproductive techniques like IVF and IVF Lite are the most viable options for the couples who have lost all hopes. However the success rates may vary from person to person.