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Counselling a must for couples opting for IVF

health and fitness Updated: Nov 20, 2011 02:06 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Hindustan Times
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With three failed in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) attempts behind them, the desperation of architects Prerna Shah, 38, and Vipul Patel, 39, (names changed on request) for their own child, has somewhat abated. Although they still want to be parents, they don’t want to go through yet another IVF cycle.

"More than the time and money – we’ve spent R5 lakh over 5 years — IVF drains me physically and emotionally," says Shah. "Each time I was given injections, I told myself this was it and I’ll finally go home with a baby. I didn’t happen. I see no hope," she says.

IVF involves daily injections, scans and invasive procedures for both partners. Additionally, many couples have to deal with repeated treatment failure and emotionally-tough treatment choices, such as whether or not to freeze embryos. The average success rate of IVF treatment in India is 30% per attempt, with a woman’s chance of having a baby being 60-70% after three attempts.

Success rates are at a higher 35- 40% among couples below 35.

Only 44% IVF clinics in Delhi and Mumbai offer psychological counselling to couples, reported a two-city survey by the Delhi-based Heal Foundation. Sixty of the 100 couples surveyed said the psychological support offered was not sufficient. And though 72% doctors in Delhi and 81% in Mumbai knew how stressed clients were, they did not advise them to go for counselling.

“Over 21 international studies support the fact that structured psychological-support counselling improves IVF success by 15-20%,” said Dr Manika Khanna, IVF expert and director, Gadium Clinic in Janakpuri.

Khanna, who does an average of 55 IVF cycles every month, offers a six-session counselling module based on Boston IVF Centre’s modules to help under-treatment couples deal with stresses of infertility and related complications.

“At the very onset, you need to assess the psychological strength of the patient, more so because success cannot be guaranteed,” says Dr Kaberi Banerjee, IVF consultant at Max Healthcare.