Dr. Anoop Kumar Gupta is a Doctor of Medicine (MD), and one of the India's well known specialists in IVF (In-Vitro Fertilisation). Trained in the US during the 1980s in Medicine, and having later served and gained experience in a Paediatric Hospital in Sydney, Australia, he is now the Medical Director and Infertility Specialist at a clinic of his own founding, which he has been running in Delhi since 1994. Known as the Delhi IVF & Fertility Centre, this super-speciality clinic offers services leading to the solution of various problems of conception faced by couples both from India as well as from abroad. NRI Achievers took out time to visit Dr. Gupta at his clinic and learn more about his work.
On an average day, Dr. Gupta's Delhi IVF literally is a beehive of activity, with the lobby chock-a-block with prospective parent couples, and families of people undergoing treatment at the clinic. Understandable as the centre caters to a variety of patients with ailments related to infertility, and specialises in providing a comprehensive bouquet of services to patients, ranging from Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), Intracycloplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Assisted Laser Hatching, Egg Donation, Embryo Donation and Embryo Freezing. The centre also provides Male Infertility and even natural infertility treatments coupled with emotional and moral support under the same roof. Not to mention practical surrogacy options available to infertile couples.
Delhi IVF has flourished over the years, with Dr. Gupta and team notching up an impressive list of achievents that are replete with several firsts. To list a few of them here, they include:
Delhi IVF maintains that the clinic is fully ART compliant, and conducts all procedures as per standards and norms specified under the yet-to-become-law Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill. The ART bill was first drafted and proposed in 2010 in response to create a governing framework for the thriving (but somewhat grey) domain of infertility treatment in India, but has so far not managed to make it through Parliament to become an Act and get notified. Dr. Gupta and his team have also so far successfully conducted 700 plus egg donation procedures, and managed more than 230 surrogacy cases, with each and every one of them resulting in successful births and the full medical recovery of the egg-donor/surrogate mother. We spoke to Dr. Gupta on the topic of IVF, artificial insemination, test tube babies, infertility treatments, and surrogacy, as also about the objections that are oft advanced against such methods, both from the ethical and religious points of view. Here are some excerpts:
What is IVF and how does it work? And how much has it become acceptable in today's society?
“In Vitro Fertilisation, or IVF, is the process for extracting of the egg cells, which are fertilised by the sperm outside the human body, in a fluid medium. This method of impregnating a female of the species is of a great importance as it is used in the case when other alternative methods of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) have failed. This technology has been of a great benefit for couples who have not been able to conceive due either to problems in sperm quality of the male partner or due to problems in the fallopian tubes of the female partner. Of course there have been several ethical and religious objections against this artificial method of pregnancy, but one cannot deny the positivity this method has brought into the lives of people, who could never go through parenthood because of one reason or the other.”
If we are to go by the speed at which IVF centres are proliferating across the country, one could well be led to believe that the human ability to procreate naturally is on a decline. What is your view?
“Yes, IVF Clinics India are indeed gaining popularity all over the country. Celebrated choreographer Farah Khan is a very recent case in the IVF records, who delivered her triplets at the age of 41. And then there are many other hollywood moms-over-40 as well. I would say that this sort of is clearly conveying the message that our world is today gradually learning to accept this boon to the human life. 'Creating' a baby is no less than a wonder!”
“With regard to your question whether declining fertility is a sign of the times, Infertility is surely a problem that is manifesting itself among large populations. Millions are indeed infertile today, which means they are unable to conceive even if they have had unprotected sex regularly for six months to a year depending on the age, and have not been able to carry a pregnancy to its full term. There may be several reasons for this increasing incidence of infertility among young couples, and hormonal imbalance is one of them. Way of life is another factor, and the blame for infertility could well come from an erratic lifestyle, hectic schedules, performance anxiety and stress taking a toll on fertility.
How expensive or inexpensive is this treatment? And what does the process generally involve?
“This treatment takes a whole series of steps to be completed, but I would say that it is well worth the wait. The IVF Clinic has to first of all make sure that the mother-to-be is able to take home a healthy baby, while preventing multiple pregnancy. The steps followed to complete the procedure are follows:
“Only when the couple has gone through all these steps is the treatment is considered complete. Speaking of costs, it would probably depend on the facility opted for. Within the last few years, there has been a rise in the number of IVF clinics India and IVF hospitals, but there have yet not been enough for the willing couples to locate as easily. AceProbe Labs, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Moolchand Health Care, and many more from Delhi have established their name in this field. Similarly Malpani Infertility Clinic, Origin Fertility Centre and Southern Cross Nursing Home and others, are notable in other parts. Costs would vary from one establishment to another. Without putting a firm figure to it, I would say total cost should range between three to five lakh Indian rupees if it is a textbook case and there are no complications.”
IVF coupled with the ease with which one can find a surrogate mother, seems to have also made India the destination for socalled 'medical-tourist' couples who want to have a test tube baby. Comments? “True. Firstly it is because IVF treatment in India is quite affordable, and may be availed by any couple irrespecective of the reason they are unable to conceive a child. This is the key reason why so many foreign couples flock to India with the hope of being able to hold their own baby in their hands. Additionally, thanks to detained appointments in their own countries by experts, they choose India as an address for their treatment. One can get up to 60% cost savings by opting for IVF clinics in India instead of getting it done from the western world countries. Various modern and advanced payment options are also available in India. Patients have the freedom to pay 25 to 30% of the total package fees as an advance, and then pay the balance amount after the treatment when they are ready to walk home with their baby.”
Your clinic has gone from success to success and today your facility is one of the sought after facilities in this part of the world. Has all this meant a positive or negative impact on your family life? “On that count I should say that I have been fortunate indeed, as me and my wife are in allied disciplines, she is a scientist and an embyologist. So her support has been there all along, and now it is she who singlehandedly manages our hospital with the meticulousness that is so characteristic of her. Another blessing has been that my children too have chosen to opt for the medical profession. My daughter Aastha is today a budding Obstetrician and Gynecologist. She is already working here, and contributing her mite to the effort here, and my son Manan is currently doing his MBBS at the Maulana Azad Medical College. So thankfully all is well on the home front as well.”