Insurance cover for infertility to be implemented soon

31 Oct

Infertility could soon be covered by insurance if the state cabinet approves the proposal.

At the inauguration of the three-day medical congress, Life 2011, on Saturday, medical education minister SA Ramadas said: “Infertility is a widely-discussed topic today as more people are suffering [from the disease]. Nevertheless, it is not covered under insurance schemes. We will discuss this in the coming assembly session.”

He added that 10 hospitals would receive Rs100 crore to set up research centres to study infertility.

“University research may be able to shed more light on the problem and it is important that we study it. Training, for a period of six months to one year, will be given to medical health practitioners to deal with the issue,” he added.

Ramadas’ statement is perhaps the first step in passing the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill, 2010. The bill was drafted by a committee of medical and legal experts, which includes Dr Kamini Rao of Bangalore Assisted Conception Centre. She is one of the two representatives from South India.

The bill was drafted in 2002. The committee has been waiting for parliament’s approval after the Union law ministry gave its approval past year. Some of the bill’s main points are setting up a national advisory council to monitor and regulate the increasing number of infertility clinics and insurance coverage for treatment of infertility and related problems.

Dr Rao said: “Infertility needs to be looked at as a disease. It is not only a physical ailment, but those suffering from it undergo intense mental stress. This is the definition of disease by the World Health Organisation. Nevertheless, it is not considered for coverage under various insurance schemes, thus making treatment inaccessible to the poor.”

Life 2011 will host more than 500 practitioners in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology. Participants will discuss various issues dealing with ultrasound, infertility and foetal medicine.

Dr Rao said although ultrasound has a big potential to diagnosemarkers that could cause diseases, the technology is not used to its full potential. “Earlier, we had to wait till at least the fifth month of pregnancy to diagnose health problems with the foetus and monitor its growth. We can now do it in the third month itself.

Nevertheless, it is not being used to its full potential,” she said.
She added that it is important to conduct research and to discuss related issues. “This Congress will help in this regard.

Cutting-edge research is the need of the hour, considering that nearly 10% to 15% o the population suffers from infertility and its related problems. We need technology that will not only reduce the cost of treatment and diagnosis, but also create awareness about the existing methods of treatment and perhaps reduce the stigma attached with infertility.”

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