Thiruvananthapuram: The SAT Hospital here has become the first IVF centre in the government sector in South India to facilitate the birth of test-tube babies with a Neyyattinkara resident being blessed with twins on Friday morning.
The babies, a boy and a girl, born to Nikhila and Suresh, weigh two kg each. The babies are doing well and out of ICU support.
Though the fertility centre at the SAT Hospital started functioning over a year ago, it tasted success nine months ago when three of the 10 women who underwent the procedure became pregnant. But one case got aborted in between. At the moment, six are in line to give birth to test-tube babies. The IVF treatment was carried out by a team led by Dr Sheela Balakrishnan, head of the fertility clinic.
The other members were Dr Anitha, Dr Raji Mohan and Dr Sarvana Kumar. For childless couples, the in-vitro fertility centre at the Sree Avittom Thirunal (SAT) Hospital is a blessing considering the exorbitant rates of assisted reproductive procedures in the private sector.
The centre has cut into the space monopolised by private hospitals.
“There are over 200 persons waiting to get the treatment. The cost varies from Rs 60,000 to Rs 1 lakh whereas in private hospitals, it is Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh for similar procedures,'' said Dr Balakrishnan.
The centre offers treatment like intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) - the method of injecting a single sperm directly into the egg -- and testicular sperm aspiration (removal of sperm directly from the testicles if it is not found in the semen) as well. A sperm bank is also functioning as part of the centre strictly as per the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) norms.
According to experts, the infertility rate has touched around 15 percent in the state. The high rate is attributed to the changes in the lifestyle of Malayalis, rise in women employment, stress and late marriage....