2020 changed the landscape on many fronts of life as we knew it! Medical facilities and the options usually available underwent drastic changes, as with it the choice in opting for fertility treatments. While invitro-fertilisation (IVF) in its own way is empowering for women, offering them options on how and when to conceive, the ongoing pandemic brings forth many doubts and questions. How safe will it be to seek treatment in these times? Will it be worth the risk? What if…something goes wrong? These form only the tip of the iceberg.

So, Femina, in association with Bharat Serums and Vaccines (BSV) Ltd, hosted a Conversation On IVF with expert doctors as part of Femina Dialogues – The Health Series on the topic, Seeking Fertility Treatment During The COVID Pandemic Times

The discussion saw comments and suggestions from Dr Richa Jagtap – Clinical Director and Consultant, Reproductive Medicine at Nova IVF Fertility Centre, Chembur, Mumbai and Dr Preethi Reddy – Lead IVF Consultant, Birthright – Rainbow Hospitals, Hyderabad.

Dr Jagtap has over 15 years of experience in the field and was a merit holder during her academic year. She has completed an academic fellowship in Reproductive Medicine and Endocrinology at KK Women’s and Children’s hospital Singapore. She is a founder member of Fertility Preservation Society of India, among other societies.

Dr Reddy is an IVF specialist with vast expertise and training from reputed institutes in India and abroad. She is the lead clinician for the IVF programme at Rainbow Hospitals and has been vital in setting up the IVF unit. Her particular area of expertise is in successfully treating patients with previous IVF failures and diminished ovarian reserve.

The discussion, moderated by Shraddha Kamdar, Production Editor – Femina, started off with understanding the psychological and physiological effects that infertility can have on a woman, and understanding the recourse from that point. The doctors answered pertinent questions related to sensitive patience care, safety measures to be taken, the age and time at which couple should seek help, and the processes and types of treatments available to patients.

Dr Preethi pointed out that often couples think that the period of trying to conceive determines when they should seek medical help, but that is not the case. “It is important for couples to understand that the age factor is very important, irrespective of the number of years they have been married for. For instance, if the patient is above 35 years of age and has been trying for over six months, unsuccessfully, she should seek assistance. If she is over 37 or 38 years, she should consider it even after trying for three months. The rest of the couples who are younger, should think of it after a year of trying with natural unprotected intercourse,” she informed.

Talking of the risks and measures to be taken during treatment at this sensitive time, amid the pandemic, both doctors said that they advise their patients to wait if possible, until things are better. Dr Jagtap also mentioned that taking all the safety precautions following all the ISAR (Indian Society For Assisted Reproduction) guidelines at the clinic helps put the patients at ease, so they feel secure in the environment around them. She added the most important measure, “We ensure patients have not had fever in the past week, and have had no COVID contact. But, no matter what precautions are taken where, one thing that is not debatable is masking up. So, please make sure you are masking up when stepping out and keeping your interactions in crowded places as minimal as possible,” she said.

Both doctors talked of recourses available for those women who might be suffering from other medical conditions like thyroid, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and cancer.

In the concluding segment, they spoke of the way forward if the IVF treatment failed, and how patients should not to see it as the end of the road. They also talked of how couples should understand that the treatment does not come with a guarantee, but the doctors will be with them every step of the way.

Bharat Serums and Vaccines Ltd is one of the fastest growing bio pharmaceutical companies In India. For over 50 years now, Bharat Serums and Vaccines has used its scientific resources to develop a range of biological, biotech and pharmaceutical products to treat various types of diseases, especially in the IVF, women’s health and critical care space, and continues to contribute to preserve, protect and enhance the quality of life.

Issued in Public Interest by BSV
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