“Motives For Patients to Travel” Explains Why Infertile Couples Seek Surrogacy in India

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A new research paper by Kiran Infertility Centre answers the question: What drives infertile couples to seek IVF treatments and surrogacy in India?

Surrogacy in India is very popular and convenient for foreign nationals.

The need to have a child motivates infertile couples from all across the globe to travel several thousands of miles to have IVF treatments or surrogacy in India, according to Dr. Samit Sekhar, who is the IVF and Surrogacy program director at the Kiran Infertility Centre in Hyderabad, India.

“The willingness to travel for surrogacy in India and the practice that facilitates fertility travel is known as reproductive tourism,” says Dr. Sekhar.

In the past few years, reproductive tourism has expanded rapidly and is now a huge part of the medical tourism industry in India. The Kiran Infertility Centre recently conducted research into the reasons that compel infertile couples to travel abroad for fertility care. Some of the findings are as follows:

1.    One in six couples worldwide experience some form of infertility at least once during their reproductive lifetimes. The current prevalence of infertility is estimated to be around 9% worldwide for women in their reproductive age group.
2.    20-30% of infertility cases are explained by physiological causes in men, 20-35% by physiological causes in women, and 25-40% of cases are because of a problem in both partners. In 10-20% of partners, no cause is found.
3.    Infertility is associated with lifestyle factors such as smoking, body-weight and stress. Older age in the female partner is also one of the most common explanations today.
4.    It is now estimated that around 5 million babies have been born worldwide through IVF and surrogacy since the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978.
5.    It is estimated that about 50,000 patients travel abroad each year for fertility treatments such as surrogacy and in-vitro fertilization.
6.    Most fertility treatments take place for women aged between 30 and 39.

Click here to read the full research paper on surrogacy in India.

According to Dr. Sekhar, “Reproductive tourism is a developing phenomenon and is here to stay."

Facilities providing Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Treatments have to gain the trust of international patients by continuously addressing their medical, legal, and logistical concerns. These facilities must also continually adapt to the latest technology, and comply with good clinical practices.

Adding to his views on surrogacy in India, Dr. Sekhar says, "To date, 1609 patients from 24 different nationalities (excluding India) have visited the Kiran Infertility Centre for various infertility treatments, including surrogacy. 836 international intended parents have contacted the facility for surrogacy. Surrogacy statistics show that 228 births and 106 ongoing pregnancies beyond 12 weeks are occurring, with 32% using self-cycles, 67% using donor eggs, and 1% using donor sperm. Overall, a total of 407 births for international patients have occurred thanks to treatments including surrogacy and IVF."

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