THE SAVIOUR

S.A.F.A.L. Test Tube Baby IVF Clinic

IVF India - - Gorakhpur, U.p. -

DR. WIJAHAT KA­REEM M.B.B.S., M.S., F.I.C.S., F.I.C.M.C.H. Con­sul­tant sur­geon & La­paroscopy sur­geon DR. (MRS.) SURHEETA KA­REEM Di­rec­tor M.B.B.S,M.S., F.I.C.M.C.H., F.I.A.G.E.S La­paroscopy & in­fer­til­ity Spe­cial­ist

When did you start SAFAL? This cen­tre SAFAL (Star Ad­vanced Fer­til­ity and La­paroscopy) started in 2005. It was es­tab­lished with the help of ex­pert team of doc­tors of national and in­ter­na­tional re­pute. Ini­tially, it was sup­ported by Dr. Naren­dra Malhotra and Dr. Jaideep Malhotra from Agra.

How did you choose this par­tic­u­lar branch of medicine? Dur­ing my med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, the area of in­fer­til­ity was very new and I de­vel­oped a keen in­ter­est in it. Af­ter at­tend­ing a con­fer­ence on this sub­ject I was fas­ci­nated by it and thought it was like a mir­a­cle for in­fer­tile cou­ples to get chil­dren of their own.

How far do you think you have suc­ceeded in your en­deav­our? I think I have achieved suc­cess in my en­deav­our and now only some fine-tun­ing is re­quired. With the avail­abil­ity of lat­est, high-tech equip­ment, that too shall be achieved soon. Ear­lier, peo­ple of this re­gion used to go to Delhi for this fa­cil­ity but now it is avail­able here. In- ciden­tally a large num­ber of be­long­ing to this re­gion are work­ing or liv­ing abroad there­fore it is eas­ier for them to come home and get this fa­cil­ity in their home re­gion, since they can­not visit other places fre­quently. Be­sides, it is highly sat­is­fy­ing to be able to bring new tech­nol­ogy to the masses. Since the cost of equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy is more or less the same every­where, we have made it af­ford­able by keep­ing the fees of ex­perts on the lower side.

What mo­ti­vates you in this field? I had opened a multi-spe­cialty hos­pi­tal in 1988 and in the early years of my pro­fes­sion, I wanted some­thing new in terms of tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide re­lief to pa­tients. In 1997 the la­paro­scopic tech­nique was in­tro­duced. My hus­band & I un­der­went lapro­scopic train­ing un­der Prof. Stel­ter to Frank­furt, Ger­many. I was for­tu­nate to have ob­tained my ART train­ing un­der the able guid­ance of the leg­endary Dr B.N. Chakraborty. I also at­tended a con­fer­ence in Hin­duja Hos­pi­tal which fur­ther stoked my in­ter­est.

Is IVF dif­fi­cult to go through from a pa­tient’s per­spec­tive? There is much greater aware­ness about this tech­nique among the pa­tients and the cost too is not much of a con­sid­er­a­tion. How­ever, in the re­gion where I am lo­cated, trans­port is a ma­jor prob­lem. There­fore, I have in­tro­duced a pickup and drop fa­cil­ity to fa­cil­i­tate my pa­tients.

What is the kind of care a pa­tient can ex­pect at SAFAL? At our cen­tre we have an ICU and a Neo-na­tal NICU with ven­ti­la­tors and other back-up. The NICU is a high-tech fa­cil­ity where even pre­ma­ture ba­bies or those born af­ter 7 or eight months of preg­nancy are taken care of. A pae­di­a­tri­cian on call, in­cu­ba­tors and other sup­port ser­vices are also avail­able.

You have seen the birth of many IVF ba­bies so far. Can you share a few mem­o­rable cases? There was a very in­ter­est­ing case when a baby was born in seven months and he weighed only 786 grams. With highly spe­cial­ized care he not only sur­vived but is a healthy seven-year-old now. In an­other case, there was a man whose first wife could not con­ceive be­cause both her tubes were blocked. He then mar­ried a sec­ond time but the sec­ond wife al­ready had two chil­dren and had had her tubec­tomy done. The man was dev­as­tated. But then it was so man­aged that with the first wife’s egg, the sec­ond wife acted as sur­ro­gate and a child was born. He is now three years old, and calls the two women as his ‘Mummy’ and ‘Badi Mummy.’

What are the most im­por­tant changes in tech­nol­ogy in the last few years? It is now pos­si­ble for in­fer­tile cou­ples to be­come par­ents at any age. In­ter­est­ingly, for many cou­ples in a cer­tain age group IVF has be­come the first op­tion of at­tain­ing par­ent­hood. Fur­ther, many of those in the 30-35 year age group are now com­ing for­ward to de­rive the ben­e­fit of this tech­nol­ogy.

Do you be­lieve the suc­cess rate would im­prove in view of such changes? Yes, I be­lieve it will cer­tainly im­prove. In­fer­til­ity is tra­di­tion­ally linked with dis­ap­point­ment. This prob­lem is cre­ated up to 40% due to de­fi­ciency in male and 40% due to de­fi­ciency in fe­male and 20% is un­ex­plained, maybe the re­sult of mod­ern chang­ing life style and ex­ces­sive use of al­co­hol, uses of mas­ti­ca­tory habits, late night work­ing etc. But now, with the lat­est tech­niques from all over the world, male and fe­male in­fer­til­ity has been re­duced to a greater ex­tent.

What is the big­gest hur­dle of mak­ing ART avail­able for the masses? The fi­nan­cial as­pect, easy avail­abil­ity of the tech­nique and proper pa­tient care are most im­por­tant.

Do you think the govern­ment should help in­fer­tile cou­ples? The treat­ment for in­fer­til­ity should also be made avail­able in govern­ment hos­pi­tals. The ex­clu­sion of such treat­ment from the am­bit of in­sur­ance cover is also a big dis­ad­van­tage.

What spe­cial fa­cil­i­ties do you of­fer pa­tients seek­ing ART pro­ce­dures at SAFAL? In SAFAL all types of In­fer­til­ity treat­ment are done like IVF, IUI, ICSI and Em­bryo Freez­ing etc. Fa­cil­i­ties of­fered in­clude in­trauter­ine in­sem­i­na­tion, in vitro fer­til­iza­tion, in­fra cy­to­plas­mic sperm in­jec­tion, in­trauter­ine in­sem­i­na­tion, em­bryo freez­ing, se­men bank­ing, oocyte bank, blas­to­cyst cul­ture, as­sisted laser hatch­ing, egg and em­bryo do­na­tion and pa­tient ed­u­ca­tion and coun­sel­ing. Also avail­able are Se­men Anal­y­sis to know the re­pro­duc­tive ca­pac­ity of males; Se­men Cul­ture to know the ef­fect of sperm qual­ity due to pres­ence of any type of bac­te­ria; test of fe­male to know the qual­ity and num­ber of eggs, rup­tur­ing and the time of their ma­tu­rity at which they come out of ovary; test of hor­mone in blood; ul­tra­sound; En­dome­trial Biopsy; Hys­teros­alp­in­go­graph, Sonos­alp­in­gog­ra­phy; La­paroscopy and Hys­teroscopy; IUI (In­tra Uter­ine In­sem­i­na­tion); IVF (In Vitro Fer­til­iza­tion) and ICSI - In­tra­cy­to­plas­mic Sperm In­jec­tion.

Af­ter help­ing so many distressed cou­ples, how do you un­wind to take on an­other chal­leng­ing day? My­self and my hus­band Wijahat Ka­reem are movie buffs. My hus­band is also a noted film pro­ducer. We share this in­ter­est in movies and this helps me re­lax and get rid of all my stress.

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