The Fertility Problem: IVF Of Surge In India

The Fertility Problem: IVF Of Surge In India

The ideal rate of replacement is pegged at 2.1 per women. For many countries, that number is far-fetched.

Juviraj AnchilUpdated: Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 02:29 PM IST
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Representative Image | FPJ Library

The world population today stand above 8 billion, a staggering number at large. But, devil as they say, lies in the detail. This is also happening at a time, when major economies throughout the world are seeing a significant decline in their fertility rate. Fertility rate roughly is the the average number of children born to women. The ideal rate of replacement is pegged at 2.1 per women. For many countries, that number is far-fetched, many European countries, along with some east-Asian countries like South Korea and Japan are looking at an existential threat.

Booming IVF Business

It is at this moment, IVF is booming, In vitro fertilization or IVF is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that entails the union of a woman's egg and a man's sperm outside of the body, typically within a laboratory setting. The procedure involves retrieving mature eggs from the woman's ovaries and manually fertilizing them with sperm in a controlled environment. Once fertilized, the resulting embryos are carefully cultured in a laboratory before being transferred to the woman's uterus, where they can implant and develop into a pregnancy.

Infertility, a global conundrum

The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report in 2023, revealing that approximately 17.5 per cent of the adult population worldwide, or one in six people, experience infertility at some point in their lives. This statistic remains consistent across high-, middle-, and low-income countries, underscoring infertility as a significant global health concern.

This is where the focus comes to India, India today is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.4 billion residing on this continent of a country. In fact India's fertility or replacement rate is higher than China, once the most populous country's 1.28. Nevertheless, it is still behind the prescribed 2.1, as India's rate stands at 2.05 children per women. And with time, this number is only expected slide further.

This could explain the rise in the apparent numbers. Although there are myriad other factors, that are at play, when one talks about dropping or rising fertility rate, infertility is a factor, that drives many of these discourses around the globe. Take Denmark for example, although not a low income country, like India, 9 per cent of the birth in country comes to pass because of IVF. But compared to the Danes, the costs incurred, is bound to impact lower income groups harder, as a study in lower-income countries found that a single cycle, lasting 2-3 weeks, costs between 50 per cent and 200 per cent of people’s average annual income. 

Business of IVF in India

It is perhaps the lucrative nature, that has led to the establishment of over 2,500 fertility clinics, making it India the second-largest number of treatment cycles globally, following the US. This surge has been propelled by investments from private equity firms. Forecasts predict significant growth in India's IVF market, with projected expansion from USD 793 million in 2020 to a mammoth USD 3,722 million by 2030.

Private sector dominates the segment, Gaudium IVF, a Delhi-based IVF clinic chain raked up a revenue of over Rs 40 crore in 2022. Another entity, Nova IVF, with a revenue of Rs 240 crore and a profit of 20 crore, bought 51 per cent stake in another company (Southend IVF) in 2021, further indicating the potential for growth, that this sector contains.

Apart from private institutions, government is also making a move towards making this now crucial facility available in its own hospitals, fertility issues have become tangible and rampant in the country, affecting an estimated 10 per cent of the adult population. Under such circumstances, the sector is only expected to grow further. Investment and concentration of the investment from bigger players in the Medicare sector is also on the cards.

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