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They helped a 62-year-old conceive!

👤FM Bureau 🕔15-December-2012
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Samad IVF Hospital

Have you heard of Bhavaniamma, a retired school teacher from Kerala and, perhaps, one of the oldest women to conceive for the first time through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and embryo transfer at the age of 62? She had conceived with the assistance of specialists at Samad IVF Hospital, a well-known infertility centre in Kerala founded 23 years ago. Located in Thiruvananthapuram, SAMAD IVF Hospital is India’s first NABH-accredited, ISO 9001-2008 certified IVF hospital in Kerala. Apart from the recognition from the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH), this IVF hospital has received accreditation from the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR) for quality management. It is a training centre of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) for infertility and Ultra Sound Specialists.

By FM Bureau

By strictly adhering to the motto of providing the best “reproductive technology with care”, Samad IVF Hospital ensures quality, transparency, and accuracy in each and every treatment methodology. Led by leading infertility specialist Dr Sathy M Pillai and Dr K G Madhavan Pillai, Samad IVF Hospital has a team of dedicated professionals.
The hospital is known for its proactive corporate social responsibility initiatives. While the government is still planning to earmark two per cent of the total budget for corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, this hospital has been following such a model for several years. Recently, it has organised two pre-marital counselling and medical examination programmes for newly-engaged and newly-married couples at the SAMAD IVF Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, and Mitraniketan People’s College in Vellanad, Thiruvananthapuram. These programmes are sponsored for one year by Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment and two more further programmes are planned in November 2012 and January 2013. The hospital has four branches in Kerala – at Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi, and Attingal respectively.

In an interview with Future Medicine, Dr K G Madhavan Pillai, Managing Director, Samad IVF Hospital Group, talks about the need for more emphasis on quality research and scientific enquires in the field of reproductive medicine as well as governmental support for such initiatives.

What are the problems in India when it comes to infertility treatment?

India is found to be lacking in terms of critical research and scientific enquiries in the field of infertility treatment. We have to depend on American, or the European medical organisations for the scientific protocol support. But this does not mean that Indian infertility treatments are not at par with International Standards. Our doctors and embryologists constantly update themselves and can match global standards of excellence. On the technology front also, Indian healthcare institutions have the wherewithal (modern machines) to provide quality care. However, India is lagging behind in the area of hospital administration in terms of quality and safety.

The absence of specific laws with regard to infertility treatment is affecting transparency. India is lagging behind in terms of laws, especially in the field of infertility and test tube baby procedures. The existing laws on sex, marriage and inheritance are to be amended for family building in the light of altered parenthood by IVF/ART. Today, we get to read a lot about unethical practices being carried out in the name of IVF treatment, particularly in Kerala. Reports on such practices have damaged the reputation of even good hospitals. The media should guard against unwarranted generalisation while reporting such things.

There is an urgency for updation of laws, as is the case with technology. Appropriate laws can put a stop to many unethical practices and media hypes.

What is Samad IVF Hospital’s super-specialty?

Genetics is our super-specialty. Some diseases or deficiencies in infertility may be due to genetic problems. We can know, predict, and circumvent embryonic problems through the use of genetics. Though disease correction through genetics is not possible as of today, it still gives us hope.

The future of healthcare lies in individual medicine, or personalised medicine. It is a kind of customised medicine designed for a certain person in accordance with his/her genetic make-up.

What are your future plans?

Samad IVF Hospital ventured into telemedicine recently. Since 2008, it is a treatment point in the ISRO national satellite telemedicine network. SAMAD IVF Hospital has its own private telemedicine facilities at Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram under the global connectivity network. But the project did not take off the way we expected. Even the West is yet to tap into the full potential of telemedicine. We are early birds in this field, and we expect the project will become popular in due course of time. SAMAD IVF Hospital is also planning a holistic health programme for girls through the CSR initiative in 2014, titled “Healthy Adolescent Female”.

What about your donor programmes in infertility?

Donor programme, surrogacy, and adoption are all items coming under the category of third party reproduction in ART. The current scenario in our society suggests that even the educated are not ready to become donors. But such programmes will certainly gain popularity in future. In the West, they have strict provisions for donor selection. There are accepted protocols in the West for selection of donors or surrogates which can be suitably modified. Such provisions can be used for a sensible formulation of donor/surrogate programmes in India.

What are your suggestions on the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill?

It is stated in the ICMR guidelines and the ART draft law, which are followed for guidance in IVF treatment, that the semen bank and other third party reproduction facilities must be separated from the IVF/ART clinic. We feel that a semen bank must be part of an ART clinic. Both semen banks and ART clinics serve the same purpose. So, it will be convenient if both are under the same roof. One person may be the ovum donor as well as the surrogate mother. If embryo donation and adoption are acceptable, any form of surrogacy should also be acceptable to society.

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