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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nepali ‘test-tube baby’ could become a reality

By Suvecha Pant
Kathmandu Post
KATHMANDU, July 9 2002.
What can be termed as a breakthrough in science and technology in Nepal, "test-tube" baby production is underway for couples who are without children or who have not had one for a long time.
A treatment centre at Putalisadak, Kathmandu, which for over eight years has been helping treat infertile males and females, from Sunday has begun the initial stages of producing test-tube babies for couples without children. Already two childless women are beginning the initial tests.
"This is good news for the fifteen percent of the population in Nepal who are childless" said Dr. Uma Shrivastava, working at the Infertility Research Centre. She further added that equipment required for the production of test tubes had been brought and the research to produce the first test-tube baby in Nepal was underway.
So, how are test-tube babies produced? "In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or test-tube babies are the basic assisted reproduction technique in which fertilisation occurs in vitro (literally in glass)," explained Shrivastav. She further added that the man’s sperm and the woman’s egg are combined in a laboratory dish, and after fertilisation, the resulting embryo is then transferred to the woman’s uterus.
"The five basic steps in an IVF treatment cycle are superovulation (stimulating the development of more than one egg in a cycle), egg retrieval, fertilisation, embryo culture, and embryo transfer," said Shrivastav adding that the stimulation period would begin by August.
"IVF will benefit Nepali couples that are not able to conceive for various reasons and presently have to travel to India spending hundreds of thousands of rupees," said the doctor who is also a masters degree holder from the University of London in Reproductive Endocrinology. "Although some of these couples have given birth to children, there are still many women who have had to return without conceiving."
Therefore, at a cheaper price than India, the centre plans to provide the same services of IVF. However, IVF is not a foolproof solution, warns Shrivastav. "IVF does increase the chances of conceiving as it is assisted reproduction in which the doctor lends a helping hand to the natural process, and the success rate is around 20 per cent."
Inspite of this, for those parents who are without children, even this success rate brings some sense of hope.
Although very common in developed nations, both the lack of highly trained doctors in Nepal and the expense of producing test-tube babies have restricted its use.
Travelling back in history, the first test-tube baby was born in England only 20 years ago. This birth through in vitro fertilisation revolutionised medical treatments for infertility, making it possible for thousands of women to conceive.