Dr. Rita Bakshi in an interview with TOI about rising sperm costs in India

World’s largest Selling Newspaper, Times of India interviewed Dr. Rita Bakshi on Sunday about the steep process of sperm donors in India.

Senior IVF specialist and fertility expert, Dr. Rita Bakshi was interviewed by Times of India and the report was published in its Sunday edition. At Dr Rita Bakshi’s fertility clinic in Delhi, each vial will soon cost Rs 10,000.”We are going to start extensive fertility and genetic testing of the sample inhouse, over and above the testing done at the sperm bank. This will lead to a price increase,” says Dr Bakshi. Assisted reproduction treatment (ART) clinics like hers buy tested samples from sperm banks and store them.

Currently, according to doctors, a vial now costs Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000, up from Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 five years ago. While in the US, the recent news reports have highlighted the rising price of donor sperm. A single vial of donor sperm can cost between $370 and $890. A decade ago, American couples could source a high-quality sample for about $200.

The report mentions, “Samples from donors with a medical or engineering degree go for a higher price. One vial lasts one cycle of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and usually two to three cycles are required for the couple to conceive. The samples are also used for intra-uterine and intra-cervical insemination – treatments that are cheaper and less invasive than IVF.”

In some cases, the chances of successfully conceiving through IVF increases with donor samples. IVF is a procedure in which eggs are taken from a woman’s ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a petri dish. Then one or more fertilized embryos are placed in the woman’s uterus, where one will hopefully implant and grow into a baby.

According to the news-report, new guidelines from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued in October 2015 pushed up the steep prices. “ICMR guidelines mandate that sperm banks need to test samples for HIV and hepatitis B and C, hypertension, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, and identifiable and common genetic disorders such as thalassemia. The tests go on for six months as many diseases have a quarantine period and the samples need to be tested again after a gap of a few months.”

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