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Centre for Excellence in Infertility Treatment
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Kerala Hospital Offers Rare Infertility Treatment

Thiruvananthapuram : In what is claimed to be a major breakthrough in infertility treatment in India, a hospital in Kerala has developed a new method to enormously reduce the failure rates of the highly expensive IVF treatment.

The new methodology called Endometrial Receptor Gene Assay (ERGA) developed by Craft Hospital and Research Centre, Kodungallur in Thrissur district, helped 13 women, majority of them with recurrent implantation failures, to conceive successfully.

The beneficiaries included a woman of Kerala origin with three successive IVF treatment failures in Australia. Her fourth conventional method of treatment at Craft also proved to be a failure. This prompted the Craft doctors to examine expressions of genes in the endometrine layer (inner layer) of her uterus.

The examination revealed that the genes which help the embryo to remain in the uterus were very weak. The expressions of around 300 genes, which are essential for conceiving a baby, were observed through ERGA, a real time PCR technology developed by the Craft team.

The IVF treatment conducted after giving medication to her to make these genes stronger became successful. She thus became the mother of the first child to have born through this treatment method in India. The new methodology also helped another Australian couple with 12 years of primary infertility and7 recurrent implantation failures to get a healthy baby.

According to Craft Medical Director Dr. C. Mohamed Ashraf, ERGA is a special test done to determine up regulation and down regulation of genes present in endometrium which determines implantation of the embryo. By studying the expression of these genes, the correct time of embryo transfer can be determined. Dr. Ashraf said that one of the reasons for recurring pregnancy loss as well as recurring IVF failures was a disorder in the endometrium which was mainly related to abnormal gene expressions. Detection and correction of this error is now possible through ERGA, he said.

Craft Neonatology head Dr Abdul Majeed said the new method was highly significant since the success rate of the popular IVF method is 50 per cent. He said that more than 3,500 out of 6,000 IVF treatments done at 25 IVF centres in Kerala last year were failures.

The loss the patients suffer a year in Kerala alone is Rs.40 crores. Nationally, with around 600 centres, the amount of loss could be staggering.

This is in addition to the physical and mental trauma the patients and their family members go through. Dr Majeed said this was because the IVF treatments were being conducted time and again without properly diagnosing the cause of the failures.