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Gift of life

Infertility specialists treat people who are unable to reproduce (men could suffer from low sperm count or other complications and women could have blocked fallopian tubes or uterine problems). Treatment ranges from simple medication to operative laparoscopy. Infertility or childlessness has a medical, emotional and a social angle.

education Updated: Jan 04, 2012 11:50 IST

The lowdown
Infertility specialists treat people who are unable to reproduce (men could suffer from low sperm count or other complications and women could have blocked fallopian tubes or uterine problems). Treatment ranges from simple medication to operative laparoscopy. Infertility or childlessness has a medical, emotional and a social angle.

An infertility expert has to be an extremely compassionate individual ready to listen to a patient’s medical and emotional problems. People in India are still not very comfortable talking about such issues, and not being able to conceive can be extremely traumatic for a couple. Fertility treatment can range from simple medication to operative laparoscopy. Advan-ced assisted reproductive techniques include in vitro fertilisation or IVF, a basic procedure, where the sperm fertilises the egg ‘in vitro’ or outside the body. The embryo which is created is then transferred to the uterus, or ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), etc. Surrogacy is also getting to be popular

Clockwork
9am: Walk into office, check appointments, check on staff
10am: Receptionist buzzes in first patient. Most of the work is clinical and involves
consultations, check on a couple of patients
1.30pm: Lunch
2.30pm: See patients again, do some counselling
5.30pm: Finish managerial work, which includes supervising the nursing staff
6pm: Supervise the work of the embryologist in the IVF lab
7pm: Leave office

The payoff
Doctors who are entrepreneurs and have their own IVF clinics can earn more than Rs 2 lakh a month. A superspecialist in a government hospital can earn upwards of Rs 50,000 a month; and someone in a private hospital can earn upwards of Rs 1 lakh a month

Skills/TRAITS
* Good at handling IVF, other procedures, able to carefully manage egg-collection and preservation techniques
* A desire to keep yourself updated with the latest advancements related to fertility treatment
* Great communication skills to help the couple understand everything about the treatment
* Good counselling skills as breaking the news to a woman that she can’t have children can be one of the toughest of tasks
* Ability to put in long working hours. At times, you work without any breaks for hours together

Getting there
You have to take up science in Class 12 and then take the medical entrance conducted by CBSE, or entrance exams of other colleges/universities. Then, you need a postgraduate MD degree in obstetrics and gynaecology and a specialisation in infertility treatment. To work in this field an in-depth knowledge of the subject along with training in specialised techniques is required. Along with the theoretical and practical knowledge working as a fertility specialist requires immense patience and dedication

Institutes and URLs
You can do a training programme from:
* UK (Oxford University) www.ox.ac.uk
* USA (Jones Institute)
www.jonesinstitute.org
* Australia (Melbourne University and Monash University )
www.unimelb.edu.au
www.monash.edu.au

Pros and cons
* You create life
* You bring hope and happiness to people who can’t have children
* Often, breaking the news a woman can’t get pregnant can be difficult
* If you are running a clinic, you get to make a lot of money
* Long working hours
* The joy you bring to people’s life can never be compared to anything else
* You need to keep yourself abreast of the latest advancements in the field

Everyday advancements in technology, along with a growing number of people seeking treatment for infertility are triggering a lot of oppurtunities in this field Dr Sandeep Talwar, senior consultant and head of department assisted reproduction at BLK Super Speciality Hosital in Delhi