Saturday, April 10, 2010
Shortage of infertility centres hits desperate couple
LAHORE - About eight per cent population of the country is facing infertility issues, while 90 per cent causes of the disease are curable and only 10 percent are complicated.
These views were expressed by In-charge Assisted Conception Unit (ACU) Dr Salman Ahmed Imtiaz in an interview with The Nation on Friday.
Assisted Conception Unit In-charge Dr Salman Ahmed said ACU was the only infertility centre in Pakistan, which is running under the Punjab government at Services Hospital. He was of the view that infertility rate was increasing alarmingly in the country but unfortunately there were no enough infertility centres in Pakistan to provide medical facility to the infertile couples.
Dr Salman who is consultant obstetrician, gynaecologist, embryologist and infertility advisor at Services Hospital said that there are only three to four qualified embryologists in the City who are authorised to treat the infertile couples in accordance with the latest concepts called Assisted Reproductive Techniques like IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination) IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) and ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection).
But unfortunately at present many doctors who are simply gynaecologists are engaged in exercising latest techniques on the infertile couples.
Dr Salman said reasons behind infertility in Pakistan are 40 per cent because of male, 40 percent because of female, 10 because of both and 10 per cent are unexplainable. He said 90 per cent diseases are curable while only 10 per cent are unexplainable.
In many cases youngsters feel shy to contact a qualified doctor and resultantly they are trapped in the hands of quacks, hakeems and inexperienced practitioners for their treatment. And these very quacks treat them with heavy metals and steroids without going into their problems, resultantly these steroids damage not only their kidneys but also enhance their fertility problems. About the common problems of infertility in the male, he said there could be sperm productivity problem with males, or blockage in the sperm delivery system.
Moreover injury to testis, hormonal imbalance, anatomical problem, past infection specially mums, tuberculosis, diabetes, blood pressure and medicines of blood pressure and ulcer could cause infertility in males. Dr Salman was of the view that dietary habits, less exercise, smoking, drugs, steroids, alcohol and steam bath could also cause infertility like diseases in men. He said people performing hard duties like drivers and those who have to stay in sunshine during duties suffer with infertility.
I have treated more than 400 infertile couples and with the blessing of Almighty Allah they are now having their babies, some of them had to go through latest technologies like IUI, IVF and ICSI and some were treated normally.
ACU centre was inaugurated in Services Hospital in the year 2000 by then governor Punjab. Punjab government then planned to provide medical facility to the infertile couple on cheaper rates. Certain private circles who were running their private clinics in the market tried to create hindrance in the operation of the unit.
He said ACU is providing cheaper treatment to the people as compared to the private clinics running in the country. He said 20 to 30 infertile couples visit the unit daily for their treatment. He said consultancy fee is not being charged from the these people while nominal charges are taken from them on their different tests being carried out against heavy amounts in the private testing laboratories. He suggested the government to introduce more infertility centres in the country to provide better and cheaper health facilities to the infertile couples.
He also stressed upon the need to start public awareness campaign regarding infertility causes and precautionary measures countrywide and asked the infertile couples for the counselling with a qualified embryologist.
The writer is a Staff Reporter of daily 'The Nation'. www.nation.com.pk