Enabling the Gift of Life
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
Being able to have a child of their own is a goal or dream of many. However, for some this may require some medical intervention.
Fertility rates are dropping at an astronomical rate around the world. In fact, many countries around the world are facing what many call a fertility crisis, with a rising number of couples struggling to conceive naturally.
For many years, Sri Lankans have had to rely on either underqualified medical professionals locally, or bear massive costs to seek medical treatment across the border (usually in India) to be able to receive treatment for fertility.
This all changed with the launch of Asiri Nova IVF and Fertility Centre; a partnership between one of Sri Lanka’s leading healthcare providers and India’s leading chain of infertility treatment centres, Nova IVF Fertility (NIF).
The new centre located at Asiri Medical Hospital, Kirula Road was launched with a simple ceremony graced by the presence of distinguished guests such as Group CEO of Asiri Health, Dr. Manjula Karunaratne, Medical Director of Asiri Medical Hospital Dr. Hasanthi Iddamalgoda, Consultant Subfertility Specialist and Gynaecologist Dr. Milhan Batcha, and COO of Nova IVF Fertility Sankar Chandrasekar.
The facility aims to provide all necessary care for couples and individuals who seek medical assistance in fertility related medical complications, meaning those who previously had to rely on underqualified professionals locally or seek costly solutions overseas, can now obtain quality, ethical medical assistance in Sri Lanka.
Addressing the gathering, Medical Director Dr. Hasanthi Iddamalgoda shed some light onto the Sri Lankan perspective of infertility in the current day.
Dr. Iddamalgoda explained how Sri Lanka’s fertility rates have dropped significantly over the past decades. In fact, “Sri Lanka has some of the lowest fertility rates in South Asia compared to its regional counterparts,” she revealed.
“Infertility could be the result of a number of reasons,” Dr. Iddamalgoda continued. Such reasons can include genetic factors, illness, injury, stress, age and more. Subfertility is identified by medical professionals when a couple has tried for over a year to conceive a child and have not been successful, and “In such instances, couples should seek medical assistance,” she added.
When to seek treatment?
Besides couples who have been trying to conceive for over a year, “It is recommended for a woman above 35 years of age to seek treatment after trying to conceive for six months as well,” she added.
Men who have ejaculatory problems or have abnormal results in their semen analyses, women who have suffered repeated miscarriages or illnesses such as endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) should also seek medical assistance as explained by Dr. Iddamalgoda.
Asiri Nova IVF and Fertility Centre aims to provide a variety of assisted reproductive treatments and services including counselling, consultation, investigations, Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), freezing and storage of embryos and sperm, following strict international protocols and policies as well as maintaining international standards of confidentiality. The facility also aims to provide donor services and egg sharing services for those in need.
Consultant Subfertility Specialist and Gynaecologist Dr. Milhan Batcha, a leading specialist in the field explained the process of what patients can expect when walking through the doors of Asiri Nova.
“When seeking medical treatment, those seeking treatment are first consulted to learn more about their medical history to get a basic understanding of their situation, taking into account their lifestyle habits such as if they smoke or consume alcohol, if they have been exposed to radiation, toxins or harsh chemicals, whilst also addressing their emotional state and resolving any particular worries,” he explained.
Patients then are provided with adequate treatment and consultation depending on their individual circumstances and needs.
This commitment to providing high quality, confidential, ethical and advanced reproductive care by Asiri Nova was solidified by both CEO of Asiri Health Dr. Manjula Karunaratne and COO of Nova IVF Fertility Sankar Chandrasekar.
“With the increasing prevalence of fertility related issues in the country, we recognised the need for high quality, advanced, reproductive treatment in Sri Lanka,” Dr. Karunaratne said.
“Our aim, through this partnership is to provide the highest standard of personalised clinical care, in an environment that is caring, sensitive, responsive and knowledgeable. Our expert team of fertility specialists, latest technology, and stringent protocols are targeted at achieving high success rates.”
“We are very glad to partner with Asiri,” added COO Chandrasekar, noting that the technology, expertise and treatment that will be provided by Asiri is on par with the likes of Nova IVF’s facilities in India; one of the country’s leading fertility centres, responsible for its high success rates as well as its dedication to providing ethical and transparent clinical practice.
Although subfertility and infertility continue to carry many myths and unfair stigma in society in general, being able to seek proper treatment and medical guidance from a trusted healthcare provider, with the confidence of having the highest international standards of transparency and ethical standards for this sensitive medical challenge is something that is welcome for many families in Sri Lanka.
(Pix by Venura Chandramalitha)