IVF or In vitro fertilisation is a technique through which the eggs are fertilised outside the mother's body in a test tube or may be a petri dish. This happens in a laboratory under controlled environment. Usually the egg is fertilised using the sperm of the intended father. This treatment is often undertaken when (1) there is a failure of fallopian tube transportation mechanism;(2) absence or disease in the fallopian tube/tubes (3) the intended mother has some serious health problems that are preventing the process of fertilisation,(4) when the sperm count of the male partner is too low to reach the fallopian tube and fertilisation.
The IVF treatment in India started around 1970s. The first test tube baby in India (It is actually the second test tube baby in the world and first test tube baby in Asia) was born on 3rd October, 1978 all thanks to Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhay. Since then, there have been thousand cases of IVF treatment in India. In fact, India has become a ground, where IVF fertility experts from all over the world came to research and practice this treatment. Most of those visiting foreign experts were banned in their own country for carrying out such experiments.
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There are hundreds of fertility clinics in India and most of them offer IVF treatment. IVF treatment is more popular in India than expected. There are IVF clinics like Delhi-IVF which is globally popular and has many overseas patients. Many countries have banned or at least implemented strict regulations (about the number of embryos that can be planted etc.) regarding IVF treatment. India is relatively free of that.
The internet is filled with advertisements of such treatments. Just like other commodities, eggs and embryos have become products that are ready for selling at right price. This has been criticized by various people on ethical grounds.
There have been various cases of eggs and embryos stealing. The stolen eggs and embryos were given to others for the purpose of research. In few cases they were also sold to other couples. Such activities are condemned on the grounds of morality and human rights.
IVF is an expensive treatment and often avoided if any other solution is present. The approximate charge is around RS6, 00,000 per cycle. At-least 4 cycles are required to achieve a pregnancy.
Still why so many couples, in spite of it being so expensive, have chosen this method over adoption – a relatively less expensive and much less complicated process? The answer lies in the structure of Indian Society and its culture. One of the reasons behind India being so developed in IVF treatment is that here giving birth to a child is more important than just having one. Adopting a child is not supported most of the time by the relatives of the couple. The couples believe in having a biological relation to the child. If the egg is donated then, as per the law, the donor stays anonymous and the baby born is considered to be the legitimate child of the intended parents. The donor is not given any parental right. In India infertility is looked down upon and criticized. Couples to get rid themselves of this stigma prefers IVF treatment.