Global IVF Services Market Growth Opportunities
Global IVF Services Market Growth Opportunities
Disruptive Technologies and Innovative Business Models are Driving Innovations in the IVF Services Industry
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As the entire world is suffering from an increasing rate of infertility, Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) are coming up with innovative technologies to address this rising issue. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is one such process that includes the monitoring and stimulation of women’s ovulatory process, removal of the egg(s) from the ovaries, and then fertilizing it with the help of a sperm – all done in a laboratory. Once the egg is fertilized, it is then transferred back to the woman’s ovary to carry forward the pregnancy. With the advancements in technologies, the IVF process has undergone several modifications where the mainstream service providers such as fertility clinics/hospitals and surgical centers are assisted by additional service providers such as cryobanks, and fertility benefits service providers. Men and women now have the provision to freeze their eggs, sperm, and embryos in the cryobanks and use it at a later stage whenever parenthood is desired. With the process of thawing, the frozen eggs / sperm / embryos can be fertilized. Moreover, the usage of state-of-the-art technologies such as pre-implantation genetic testing improves the success rate of the treatment as well as promotes better outcomes. Moreover, the possibility of using artificial intelligence (AI) in predicting the likeliness of an embryo to develop, even to the extent of having a fetal heart, thus enabling the embryologist in the IVF procedure to select the best embryo for transfer. Fertility research centers and fertility providers such as IVFAustralia are conducting extensive researches to predict the chances of a feasible pregnancy from the transfer of a single embryo in a woman undergoing IVF. The prime aim of this work is to enable the right embryo selection in a faster and more effective way so that the woman undergoing the IVF treatment can conceive faster. This reduces the pressure of IVF on the woman and her family. Apart from the implementation of emerging technologies such as AI, many other new innovations and techniques can enable the diagnostic work-up and treatment through ART, more affordable, including IVF. Most of these developments are in clinical trial stage. Instances include mild or minimal stimulation (mild ovarian stimulation with optimal utilization of trained personnel and local laboratory for the procedures), that clinically delivers similar pregnancy rates and at the same time being more cost effective. These innovations would boost the adoption of IVF mostly in low-middle income countries. As the IVF laws differ in different parts of the world, couples seeking parenthood through IVF sometimes need to travel to foreign lands for the treatment. This is called fertility tourism, which is rising substantially in certain European countries, and in Asian and Middle East countries. Fertility tourism has gained popularity amongst patients belonging to well-developed economies especially, in the US and Europe. Patients seeking cross-border reproductive care because of diverse regulations implemented for fertility treatment. In Europe, countries such as Czech republic and Poland offer low-cost IVF treatment (~$2,135 to $3,600), and lack of a legal age limit required for undergoing the treatment, especially in Poland. However, gender selection is banned in both countries. Similarly, Spain offers shorter waiting times as compared to the UK, where the patients will receive donor eggs between 18 months to 2 years with success rates of 40-45%. Meanwhile, countries such as Thailand, and UAE allow gender selection. Patients preferring a specific gender in their family opt to go to these countries as there are no regulatory limitations in terms of sex selection. With the recent overturn of Roe vs Wade, there are concerns around rejected embryos from such procedures that may have legal implications. Therefore, in case of such scenarios, experts are considering an increase in fertility tourism to LATAM. The high cost of IVF remains a major hindrance in the adoption of the treatment process, mostly in the developing markets. The government of those countries needs to announce recommendations and reimbursements to increase ART adoption for its citizens. As most of these countries don’t treat infertility as a disease, treatment for it is completely out-of-the-pocket (OOP) for the seeking couple. In order to address rising infertility issues, some countries have started reimbursing a particular amount of the treatment cost. For instance, Japan’s public health insurance will reimburse 70% of the total ART cost as a part of the government initiative to cease the decline of its population. Similarly, India offers reimbursement of expenditure on IVF process for a maximum of 3 fresh cycles, an amount of INR 65,000 per cycle / the actual cost (whichever is lower, to be allowed for reimbursement). Also, the city of Xianning in the Central Hubei province of China rolled out a reimbursement policy for Chinese women under the age of 35 undergoing ART procedure. The reimbursement announced an amount of $1,500 (10,000 yuan) to encourage births and enacting on the three-child policy.